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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONTACT: Morghan Boydston | OCED Humans Services Manager | [email protected] | 735-544-6762
Assistance Available for Renters Facing Eviction
WASHTENAW COUNTY, MI., September 9, 2021 – On August 26, the U.S. Supreme Court took action to end the to block the federal eviction moratorium for non-payment of rent. While this decision removes national eviction protections and will directly impact tenants throughout Washtenaw County, financial and legal assistance is still available to those facing pandemic-related challenges. Washtenaw County Government and its partners recommend the following steps for those facing eviction:
“We urge anyone who is behind on rent or concerned they will be behind on rent to apply for COVID Emergency Rental Assistance (CERA) as soon as possible,” said Teresa Gillotti, Director of the Washtenaw County Office of Community and Economic Development. “Tenants who cannot apply online can call Housing Access of Washtenaw County at (734) 961-1999 to complete a paper application. Once tenants have applied and informed the court of their CERA application, there is a 45-day automatic stay still in place for court proceedings from their first hearing date, which provides time for assigning and processing the application.”
Washtenaw County has received more than $18 million in funding for the CERA program. Since its start in the spring, more than $4 million has been spent assisting more than 500 families in Washtenaw County. Funds will be available through the end of the calendar year, with an additional allocation expected for 2022.
“If you get notice of court dates, make sure that you attend even if you’ve applied for assistance, or else a default judgment may be entered against you.” said Lisa Maskill, Supervising Attorney with Legal Services of South Central Michigan (LSSCM). “When you show up, LSSCM can meet with you to to give you legal advice, and may be able to represent you in court until there has been adequate time for the CERA application to be processed and for landlords to receive back rent.”
Tenants should remain in their rental unit or home and not vacate until the CERA application has been processed. Should a tenant move, they could be deemed ineligible for assistance through the CERA program. If a tenant is unable to make their first court date, they should contact LSSCM for free legal advice and representation at (734)-665-6181.
About Washtenaw County Office of Community and Economic Development (OCED)
Washtenaw County is stronger when all people are able to fully participate in our community and economy. To that end, the Office of Community and Economic Development (OCED) is committed to stepping out of traditional government roles to drive long-term system changes that increase equity and opportunity. Informed by data and resident voices, we deliver services, invest resources, shape public policy, lead initiatives, and amplify the impact of community partners to that end. Learn more at https://www.washtenaw.org/oced.
LSSCM provides free civil legal assistance to low income persons with emphasis on homelessness prevention, domestic violence prevention, assisting in accessing health care, food, and needs-based income programs. In addition to representation in individual cases, LSSCM is part of a network of agencies providing services to the community’s most vulnerable members. LSSCM engages in systemic advocacy to help alleviate the barriers and hurdles faced by low income individuals.