LANSING, MI (WYSM) — During the coronavirus pandemic, people who struggled to pay their rent have been getting some help from the state. But if the eviction freeze does end June 30, there could be a dramatic increase in evictions.
"We can't have a healthy successful life unless we have access to adequate and affordable housing opportunities in our community,” Capital Area Housing Partnership Executive Director Rawley VanFossen said. “When you take legal action to take someone out of that home, that creates a public health crisis especially when we're going through an actual global pandemic."
The Capital Area Housing Partnership is just one of the places struggling tenants can get help.
“You can call my office and speak with a counselor if you’re having trouble making rent payments on time or even worse, you're facing some sort of eviction, and ask those tough questions that maybe you're not going to get a straight answer from your landlord,” VanFossen said.
If tenants are facing legal action from landlords, the organization also works with Legal Services of South Central Michigan, who are able to an eviction diversion.
"It helps landlords and tenants resolve issues, helps tenants seek assistance so that landlords can get paid, mend or rebuild a somewhat broken relationship that may have happened through repair issues or nonpayment,” Legal Services of South Central Michigan Managing Attorney Elizabeth Rios said.
Eviction diversions can also help courts move quicker through their landlord-tenant dockets, which will be fuller than normal.
"Nobody wants, even under the best circumstances, a mass of evictions, especially under the circumstances that we're facing now,” Rios said.
An eviction freeze doesn’t mean tenants don’t have to pay. Those who are able to pay their rent are still expected to do that.