Families running out of options as Arizona eviction moratorium near end

Posted at 6:13 PM, Jul 20, 2021
and last updated 2021-07-21 01:23:40-04

There will be no last-minute heroics. When the clock strikes midnight on August 1st, the federal eviction moratorium will end.

Tanya Ricks, a single mother of three, is quickly running out of options.

Ricks applied to the city of Phoenix for rental assistance help in March after she lost her job.

“My application says it was submitted on March 25. But there hasn’t been any movement at all,” Ricks said.

Phoenix received $51.1 million in federal rental assistance aid and, partnering with the community action organization Wildfire, has dispensed $18,792,561 to 2,492 households as of July 16.

On average, the city is doling out approximately $1.5 million dollars to about 200 households a week.

But time is running out, and efforts to help people like Tanya Ricks and her family may come too late.

“Over the weekend my complex told me they are not going to renew my lease,” Ricks said. “They didn’t say it was nonpayment but actually they didn’t give me a reason. They just sent me an email saying we’re sorry you’re leaving us.”

The state of Arizona has also had a difficult time dispensing the emergency rental assistance aid. It received $289 million for rental and utility assistance and so far has only distributed $13.5 million.

Fair housing advocates say the situation is grave.

“I think people need to batten down the hatches and prepare for what’s coming. Don’t keep your head in the sand and hope for the best,” said Ken Volk of Arizona Tenants Advocates.

Volk predicts that the courthouse is going to get very busy.

“Thousands of people are evicted normally in short periods of time in Arizona and this is going to be far beyond that,” Volk said. “The courts are going to be busy everyday for months. Eviction after eviction after eviction 30 seconds each. That’s my guess.”

Tanya Ricks thinks maybe it’s time for her to take the family back to Wisconsin.

“I’ve tried my best to explain it to them and make it make sense,” Ricks said. “My son is a senior in high school so he’s not really excited about the possibility of having to pick up and move somewhere else.”

But Ricks knows she is running out of options.