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Tulsa leaders expect a "tsunami of evictions" this year

Posted at 4:47 AM, Jul 07, 2020
and last updated 2020-07-07 17:34:19-04

TULSA, Okla. — Before the coronavirus pandemic, Tulsa ranked the 11th highest evictor in the country.

City leaders told 2 Works for You they have seen an increase in numbers, over 14,000 people have gone through the eviction process in 2019 and it's expected to be higher in 2020.

The Housing Policy Director for the city said 30,000 units and homes are currently backed by the CARES Act.

The CARES Act, Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act, is a law created to help with the economic fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic in the United States.

Once it expires, that leaves 30,000 units with no eviction protection.

Tulsa's Housing Policy Director Becky Gligo said this is what she would call the "tsunami of evictions."

When the coronavirus began to spread in Oklahoma, Tulsa County closed the courts until June 1st, so evictions weren't enforced.

But now, Gligo says, things are starting to change, as protection like the CARES Act expires soon.

“We have seen a trickle of evictions coming in, but there are some things in place," Gligo said. "Now that the courts are starting to open back up, we are seeing a lot more evictions here in Tulsa County.”

Gligo hopes the federal resources provided will help people when that time comes.

“We are working with every partner we have to try to get in front of this, what I call the 'tsunami of evictions,’ but if we don’t we will continue to see those numbers continue to rise,” Gligo said.

For now, she suggests anyone looking for help to call 211.

Someone will connect you with rental assistance, legal assistance, legal aid, and more.

“If you have already received an eviction notice, and you have a court date," Gligo said. "The most important thing to do is show up to that court date, if you don’t show up then you could automatically lose your eviction case. But if you go, there is rent assistance, mediators on site, there is a really good chance you won’t be displaced if you show up and work with your landlord.”

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