PHOENIX — It's not even 9 a.m. yet, and already, Amanda Jefford's life has changed drastically.
"I feel upset," she says, tears streaming down her face. "I'm sad. I'm ashamed. I'm embarrassed. I'm hopeless."
Amanda and her boyfriend were just evicted from a guest house on the outskirts of downtown Phoenix. Amanda admits they were several months behind on their rent. She tells ABC15 they both lost their jobs during the pandemic and haven't been able to get back on their feet.
"It's $1,500 a month for that little place back there, and when you lose your job, that's a lot of money that backs up that you owe. And we couldn't come up with it in time, so got evicted out last minute and I don't know what to do...First I was Uber driving, and then I lost my car so I couldn't do that anymore. Then I got a job in food service. I was going to do anything...I didn't get to graduate high school. I've been in prison once already, so there aren't a lot of options for me."
We met Amanda the Week of Oct. 17, and that week alone, there were more than 1,600 eviction filings in Maricopa County, according to Eviction Lab, an eviction tracking system powered by Princeton University.
The site also shows filings have increased since the CDC eviction moratorium went away in August.
As we're talking to Amanda, two Maricopa County constables who just served the notice come back, hoping to help. They give Amanda information on how she can obtain emergency housing and find a safe, free place for her dog, Bubba, to stay while she gets back on her feet.
"They'll take care of the animal for the whole period while you're homeless at no charge," explains Maricopa County Constable Darlene Martinez.
Amanda tells us she wishes she knew about the resources sooner.
"I could have gotten things into motion, you know what I mean? We could have been out."
There are a number of resources available right now. The constables tell me there is still quite a bit of COVID-19 relief money that hasn't been used yet.
If you live in the cities of Phoenix, Mesa or Glendale, Maricopa County officials tell us that those cities have their own rental assistance programs and you should contact them directly. If you live outside of these cities, but still within Maricopa County, you can contact the County at 602-506-0589.
Maricopa County officials tell ABC15 the County has provided more than $107 million in funding for people struggling to pay rent and utility bills as of November 29.
If you're facing homelessness, you can reach out to https://hsc-az.org/find-help/ [hsc-az.org]