Eviction fears rise in Ferguson as Congress debates new help for renters

Missouri

FERGUSON, Mo. – Talks to restart eviction moratoriums are being discussed on Capitol Hill as 80 residents in Ferguson claim they’re being evicted, despite many saying they paid their rent.

After the Supreme Court’s ruling last month that deemed the CDC can’t issue eviction moratoriums, Missouri Congresswoman Cori Bush revealed a new bill Tuesday to help prevent evictions.

The Keeping Renters Safe Act would give the power of resuming a moratorium to the Department of Health and Human Services.

Something many advocates say is desperately needed right here in Missouri.

“People are being evicted as we speak as we stand here,” Bush said.

Meantime, in Ferguson, Mayor Ella Jones said about 80 tenants at Pleasant View Gardens apartments facing sudden eviction.

“We need to find some type of immediate assistance for these families,” Jones said.

“The money should go for the housing that they’re in but now if the landlord refuses the money, then hopefully the Urban League will be able to assist these people into new housing. The goal is not to keep them as renters, but once they get stabilized, and get jobs, and get skills, we want to move them into homeownership.”

The tenants tell the city that some notices have been delivered to residents who have paid rent or were told they were cleared for housing vouchers through the county.

Many of them alleging poor living conditions as well.

“The landlord must be held accountable for the state of their houses and no one has the right to want to collect rent from people and then allow them to live less than human beings,” Jones said.

Joined by the Urban League and other housing assistance groups, Mayor Jones will go down to the apartments to find out who needs help filling out applications for funding.

“We’re working every avenue that we can to get the assistance that we need. First things first, we need to find out who applied, so we can find out who needs to still apply,” Ward 3 Councilwoman Fran Griffin said.

They’re asking residents to apply for funding that will be distributed to help them stay off the streets.

“We have a food pantry, we do provide utility assistance through the keeping current program, and some of our grants, we have for our utility assistance,” said Paula Carey-Moore, Urban League director of housing.

Multiple departments in the city are currently in discussion about how to move forward and are expected to meet with the landlord soon.

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