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Tulsa Co. District Court receives grant to aid in eviction crisis

Posted at 4:55 PM, Sep 13, 2023

TULSA, Okla. — Tulsa is the 11th worst city in the nation for evictions, according to The Eviction Lab.

Tulsa County District Court just received a federal grant to decrease landlord-tenant disputes and improve housing stability.

Families – young and old – were at Iron Gate on Tuesday. It's home to the Landlord Tenant Resource Center through Tulsa's Housing Solutions. Tenants who've recently been evicted can come there for guidance on what to do next.

2 News spoke with James Reynolds, the director of the center.

"We already had high eviction numbers as is," Reynolds said. "Going into the pandemic and getting out of the pandemic, there was an element of uncertainty."

Just under 1,000 people came to the Landlord Tenant Resource Center last month. It's always packed.

Now, more help is coming.

Tulsa County District Court received a grant from the National Center for State Courts' Eviction Diversion Initiative. The funding will be used to hire staff focused on providing landlords and tenants with strategies to resolve housing problems.

Chris Simmons has been a Tulsa landlord for a decade and says he's never had it this bad. He says allocating funds to complicate the eviction process – especially when it favors tenants over landlords - isn't the answer.

"If people owe money, people owe money. It's been tough for a lot of people. Landlords are no different. Interest rates are up. Property values are up. Everyone wants more housing, but if the housing costs more and more and the tenants aren't paying for it, we have no choice but to find new tenants or minimize the supply we have available," Simmons said.

Both Simmons and Reynolds say Tulsa needs more affordable housing.

The search for fairness – between tenants and landlords – continues.

"The big thing is to prevent homelessness and pretty much lessen the impacts when someone should go through an eviction," Reynold said.

Tulsa's Landlord Tenant Resource Center operates Monday through Thursday from 1 to 4:30 p.m. and is directly across from the Tulsa County Eviction Court. They opened in 2021 and have since helped well over 6,000 clients.

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