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  • Pima County ready to help tenants, landlords avoid evictions

    Jul 29, 2021 | Read More News
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    UPDATE: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Aug. 3 announced a targeted extension of the federal eviction moratorium through Oct. 3. The new moratorium applies to areas of the country experiencing high or substantial transmission of COVID-19, which includes Pima County.

    Pima County has efforts underway to assist tenants and landlords with rental and utility payments amid another extension of the federal moratorium on residential evictions.eviction notice

    The moratorium was enacted by the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention due to widespread unemployment and financial hardships caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

    In addition to the assistance with rent and utility bills, the County is also prepared to offer legal help to tenants involved in eviction proceedings.

    Emergency Eviction Legal Services, or EELS, is a new program designed to assist renters who are in the process of being evicted or who may face an eviction. The program is still ramping up, but tenants can see if they qualify for legal aid by going to www.pima.gov/EvictionLegalServices or by calling (520) 724-3357.

    Andrew Flagg, deputy director of Pima County’s Community & Workforce Development Department, said, “Most tenants facing eviction cannot afford to hire a lawyer. Pima County’s new program will connect these tenants with lawyers, at no cost to them, helping level the playing field in court.

    “We will also provide any party to an eviction case with a resource navigator, who can help walk parties through the process and connect them with other available resources, which might include rental assistance or help finding other housing or a job.”

    Pima County residents who want to apply for rental or utility assistance should go online to TucsonPimaEP.com.

    Manira Cervantes, manager of Pima County's Community Services Division, said households seeking assistance are subject to eligibility guidelines for the programs.

    "I urge everyone who has applied to have their documents ready and communicate with their landlord about the pending application for assistance," Cervantes said. "The key component in moving applications along requires both parties — landlord and tenant — to agree and provide required documentation."

    The CDC issued its initial order temporarily halting residential evictions due to nonpayment of rent on Sept. 4, 2020. That order was set to expire Dec. 31, 2020, but was subsequently extended through Jan. 31, 2021, March 31, June 30 and July 31. The moratorium has been extended through Oct. 3.

    Using federal dollars allocated by Congress, Pima County and its local partners — including the city of Tucson and the Community Investment Corporation — have been assisting families who have been unable to keep up with rent and utility payments. That aid has been going out since March and is open to tenants and landlords.

    As of July 21, the joint Pima County and Tucson Eviction Prevention Program has paid out more than $15 million in rental assistance and in excess of $1 million for utilities. In all, more than $20 million in payments have been committed.

    According to the TucsonPimaEP.com dashboard, those figures involve about 3,100 tenants or property owners who have been paid or whose payments are being processed. Nearly 5,000 additional cases are in the pipeline for assistance.