DETROIT – Michigan’s eviction moratorium officially expired, leaving hundreds or potentially thousands of of families at risk of being put out of their homes if they can’t afford to pay rent.
In an effort to ease some of the strain, the city of Detroit was able to extend that moratorium for its residents.
Before Detroit announced its extension, there were a lot of concern coming from families struggling to get the rent in on time. One local attorney said it’s one of the only moves that makes sense right now.
“If you’re working, you’ve got one set of options, but if you’re unemployed, the options change,” said Rodney Watts.
Just hours after Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s statewide moratorium on evictions expired, the 36th District Court announced it would be extending that moratorium in the city of Detroit until Aug. 15.
“It needs to be extended it to the end of the year until we can at least see the possibilities of getting some legs under us economically,” Watts said.
Watts served as an attorney for 30 years with the Wayne County Neighborhood of Legal Services. He insists there has to be more done to make sure families don’t end up on the street.
“The victims are low income people. People who can’t afford to pay,” Watts said. “The people don’t have to suffer because if you evict them, then where are they gonna go?”
With that mindset, he’s not alone. Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan addressed the situation and the awful timing during a press conference Wednesday where he spoke of plans to officer assistance to the people who need it most.
Duggan urged residents in need to visit the official Detroit Eviction Prevention Resources website.
“If you are already unemployed and you get booted out, your only hope is to reach out to community organizations that are in a position to help you or public assistance,” Watts said.
The moratorium has only been extended in the city of Detroit. It’s unknown if other surrounding communities will follow suit, but there is a new program administered by the Michigan State Housing Development Authority that will offer $50 million in relief for both renters and landlords.