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Whitmer eviction moratorium expires

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Governor Gretchen Whitmer’s moratorium on people being evicted from homes and apartments for non-payment of rent expired Thursday. It’s being replaced with a new program with financial assistance to help renters and landlords catch up with overdue rent and avert evictions.

Kelly Rose is the Chief Housing Solutions Officer with the Michigan State Housing Development Authority.

“We are very thankful that we have $50 million to be able to use to help renters and landlords where the renters have fallen behind in their rent,” Rose said. “And we can help out by getting some of that back rent paid so that people can stay in their homes.”

She said, due to the COVID-19 crisis, this is a very bad time for people to be forced out of their homes, as well as a very difficult time for landlords to find new tenants.

Rose said the program gives landlords as much as 90 percent of past-due rent if they agree to forgive the balance.

“In the vast majority of cases that’s more than what they would have been able to collect from the tenant if they had gone through the standard eviction process,” she said.

There is an income test to qualify for the assistance. Rose says the initial $50 million dollars set aside for the program will only meet part of the need. But she says the state is looking at other sources of funding and counting on Congress and the Trump administration to also will come to a deal on more COVID 19 assistance for states.

In a separate action, a judge in Detroit has extended the moratorium in the city through August 15th.

“Removing people from their homes right now could prove to be devastating as our ability to control this virus depends on the ability of all to self-isolate, practice social distancing, and exercise frequent hand-washing,” said Chief Judge William McConico in a statement released by the 36th District Court.

Link to Eviction Diversion Program website:

https://www.michigan.gov/mshda/0,4641,7-141-5555-533463--,00.html

Link to Detroit 36th District Court announcement:

https://www.36thdistrictcourt.org/about-us/announcements/2020/07/16/36th-district-court-announces-extension-of-eviction-moratorium

Rick Pluta is the Capitol Bureau Chief for the Michigan Public Radio Network. He is heard daily on WCMU's Morning Edition and All Things Considered.