TULSA, Okla. — More than 1,200 eviction cases are pending in the Tulsa County Courthouse. That number is causing homeless shelters to start worrying about a potential jump in people on the streets.
Mack Haltom is the executive director of the Tulsa Day Center. He said they’ve been working with the city of Tulsa on a strategic plan to slow down the city’s eviction rate, which is the 11th highest in the nation at 7.8 percent
“I would rather try to keep them in their place now if we can," Haltom said. "We want to prevent them becoming homeless.”
Haltom said social distancing means they don’t have as many beds to offer. Only 100 people are currently allowed in the shelter day and night.
“We worked very hard on trying to get people placed either in a safe situation," he said. "We gave them plenty of time to work on trying to find a place to go whether it be with a friend or a family member.”
There's some good news for people with recent eviction notices. Tulsa County District Judge Caroline Wall, who is chief judge of the civil division, said while the courthouse reopens on Monday, there won’t be any eviction hearings until June 1. Even then, she said about 70 percent of those cases will fall under the temporary moratorium put in place by the CARES Act, including cases filed on or after March 27.
“The CARES Act will not permit those evictions to be placed on the docket prior to Aug. 1," she said.
Wall said they're looking for a space to hold the hearings that will be safe for everyone.
The Tulsa Day Center wants to use its resources to prevent those potential evictions from happening.
“We can still assist people with some eviction," Haltom said. "We do have some what’s called homeless prevention resources that we might be able to help people get caught up on their rent if possible.”
To get more info on the Tulsa Day Center's assistance program, click here. You can also call 211 for help.
Hearings on small claims, asset hearings and claims for exemption from garnishment will also not be heard until June 1.
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