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Memphis agencies assisting vulnerable renters as key federal eviction protection set to expire

Fund in place to help out renters affected by COVID-19 and facing eviction

MEMPHIS, Tennessee — "Tenants are definitely worried," Memphis Area Legal Services CEO Cindy Ettingoff said.

Time is ticking for vulnerable Memphis area renters, negatively impacted by the coronavirus, due past rent and facing eviction.

"COVID-19 cases are rising all the time, you really don't need people out on the street with nowhere to be," Ettingoff said.

Unless Congress acts before then, this Saturday, landlords who benefited from the federal CARES act will not get that assistance. That means starting next Monday, those landlords who were beneficiaries can begin handing out 30-day eviction notices.

"Retaining housing for tenants right now is so important, especially if you are going to try to have you child school from home basically or if you are going to enroll your child, you need an address to do that from," Ettingoff said.

Memphis Area Legal Services is assisting renters with eviction court hearings, pro bono attorneys and other resources.

"If you are someone who owes past due rent you really do need to be applying to the Eviction Settlement Program," Ettingoff said.

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That's the $2 million fund in place for Shelby County renters affected by COVID-19 and past due on rent.

Families who qualify get up to $1,000 to settle debt with their landlords.

"You are going to have to do some negotiating and thankfully we have some very fine negotiators," Ettingoff said.

When eviction court hearings picked up again last month in Shelby County, there were about 9,000 cases on the docket.

Click here for information from Community Service Agency with Shelby County.

Click here for information from United Housing.

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