What to do if facing eviction

Published: Jul. 31, 2021 at 8:35 PM EDT
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CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) - A federal ban on evictions during the pandemic is up and it may affect many across our region trying to keep the lights on and their home from being put on the market.

“If they are even concerned about missing a utility or rental payment it is time for them to call us,” said Ellen Allen, Chief Executive Director of the Covenant House in Charleston.

Allen helps find funding that people may qualify for to keep a roof over their head because she said if housing is lost, it’s a lot harder to get it back.

“What complicates all this is that it is hard to find suitable rental units right units that are affordable clean and in areas people want to live,” said Allen.

Traci Strickland is the Director of Kanawha Valley Collective. She works with people who have already lost their homes and are experiencing homelessness.

“Hopefully a lot of the safety nets that have been built-- emergency housing vouchers the MRAP hopefully that will keep people from falling into homelessness,’” said Strickland.

She worries more people will become homeless and she says shelters are already maxed out. Those safety nets are available. Call 211, The Covenant House, Kanawha Valley Collective, Mountaineer Rental Assistance Program, and more..

Both organizations say they are getting flooded with calls and to help them find resources fast certain items need ready when you call.

“Have your stuff together, have a copy of your lease have a copy of your eviction papers because that is going to be required for almost anywhere you go for assistance,” said Strickland.

Strickland said the process to get help can sometimes take weeks, so it’s important to know your rights as a renter but she said it can be tricky to find funding unless an eviction is on it’s way.

“I got a call the other day from a lady that said she got a letter that said if she did not pay they would move to evict her and the funding that was available that day needed her to have an eviction notice,” said Strickland.

Strickland said that is not always the case. She said to make sure other payments like stimulus checks and child tax credits have been awarded, and to get help as quickly as possible if an eviction is on it’s way.

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