Evictions return in St. Louis as protesters rally for delay due to pandemic

Missouri

ST. LOUIS – Evictions in St. Louis resumed Tuesday after being put on hold since March. At the same time, an anti-eviction rally took place in front of St. Louis City Hall.

The rally was organized by the STL Housing Defense Collective, a group of local organizations all fighting to keep people struggling due to the pandemic in their homes.

Together, the group came up with five demands on how the city should allocate federal funding:

  • A mandatory mediation program for landlords/tenants
  • Implementation of a rental assistance program for families with school-aged children
  • None of the funding should be diverted to policing or corrections
  • No further displacements of the encampments of unhoused communities
  • A 120-day extension on the eviction and utility moratoriums

Myisha Johnson said when the pandemic hit she realized there were things her family needed to stay safe. She dipped into her saving account for those items and it made it hard to pay rent. Johnson said at one point her electricity almost got turned off because she chose to pay her rent instead of electric bill.

St. Louis City Sheriff Vernon Betts said they served five evictions Tuesday and have three planned for Wednesday. He said a rush of requests will come in as clerks get caught up on paperwork and landlords realize they are able to file.

Betts says he has eight 2-man teams ready to serve evictions and he hopes that’s enough resources to handle the influx.

A spokesperson for Mayor Lyda Krewson said the city has allocated $5.4 million from the CARES Act for mortgage assistance. They hope that funding passes the board of alderman on Wednesday.

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