City taking steps to continue helping renters as end of federal eviction moratorium looms

City taking steps to continue helping renters as federal eviction moratorium looms

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - One Memphis organization is urging local, state and federal leaders to protect those facing eviction during the COVID-19 pandemic.

At a news conference Wednesday, members of the Memphis Tenants Union called to local leaders for help.

The group’s mission is to make sure all Memphians have a safe, accessible and truly affordable home.

“Mayor Strickland, I hope you’re listening. This is your city and we need help,” said Bluu Davis with the union.

Currently, there’s a federal eviction moratorium protecting renters during the pandemic, but it expires Jan. 31.

The group worries once the moratorium expires, people will be without homes.

“The health department’s most recent order urges Memphians to stay at home and socially distance,” said Alex Uhimann. “This is simply not possible when you’ve been evicted.”

According to the union, more than 10,000 evictions have been filed in Shelby County since March 15, 2020.

Which is why the group wrote an open letter to state, local and federal leaders demanding they do something.

“When an eviction happens a family loses their home and are often expelled from their community causing their children to have to switch schools,” said Uhimann. “Families often lose their possessions as well.”

“I got the nice and famous detainer warrant here,” said Davis.

Davis says receiving this eviction notice was scary, which is why she wants to help other families.

“It is important to know your rights during this time,” she said. “No one should have to be without a home.”

Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland issued a statement in response to the letter, saying:

“There are many in our community who are hurting. The City of Memphis will, as we always have done, continue to work with County, State, and Federal officials, along with our community partners to address this critical issue.  Together, we have provided $20 million in relief funding for those in need in 2020. We have applied to the federal government for funds that we plan to make available to provide relief to tenants and landlords for rent and utility assistance.  We expect to be able to provide more information on this effort in the next couple weeks.”

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