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Important Eviction Defense Training on Saturday in Grand Rapids seeks to build solidarity for thousands of area tenants who will likely face eviction after the New Year

December 8, 2020

The Grand Rapids Area Tenant Union is hosting an online training this coming Saturday,  (December 12th) for those who want to be involved in Eviction Defense. 

The 2 hour training is for allies/accomplices who want to be in solidarity with tenants who are facing eviction after the New Year. Homes owners and renters can participate in this training, but those who are landlords, property management owners or anyone antagonistic towards those who are facing eviction will not be allow to participate.

Since the COVID 19 pandemic, tenants all over the world are facing eviction. Many people have lost employment due to the pandemic, while others have lost health care benefits. In addition, with many schools closed, parents who rent have been faced with child care costs or have chosen to stay home, which has increased financial insecurity.

Housing Justice groups and organizers have been pushing a moratorium on evictions since the pandemic began. Grassroots pressure put on Gov. Whitmer got her administration to put a moratorium on evictions last Spring and in early September the Centers for Disease Control instituted a national eviction moratorium until the end of the year. 

We also know that there is a clear connection between stable housing and lower rates of the COVID 19 virus infections. In a recent study entitled, Expiring Eviction Moratoriums and COVID-19 Incidence and Mortality, the authors discovered:

Twenty-seven states lifted eviction moratoriums during the study period. COVID-19 incidence in states that lifted their moratoriums was 1.6 (95% CI 1.0,2.3) times the incidence of states that maintained their moratoriums at 10 weeks post-lifting and grew to a ratio of 2.1 (CI 1.1,3.9) at ≥16 weeks. Mortality in states that lifted their moratoriums was 1.6 (CI 1.2,2.3) times the mortality of states that maintained their moratoriums at 7 weeks post-lifting and grew to a ratio of 5.4 (CI 3.1,9.3) at ≥16 weeks. These results translate to an estimated 433,700 excess cases (CI 365200,502200) and 10,700 excess deaths (CI 8900,12500) nationally.

The conclusion of the researchers stated that lifting eviction moratoriums was associated with increased COVID-19 incidence and mortality, which led those involve din the research to say that there is a strong public health rationale for use of eviction moratoriums to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Other research shows that the average renter has $6,000 in past rental and utility fees, mostly because the federal government has not provided any relief funding since July, while at the same time the US government has given billions of US taxpayer dollars to corporation, banks and the fossil fuel industry. Millions are unemployed, have lots health care benefits and are facing a likely eviction in January with the deaths from COVID peaking.

This is exactly why groups like the National Low Income Housing Coalition, are calling on Congress to extend the current eviction moratorium and provide rent relief to struggling households. 

This is the context for why the Grand Rapids Area Tenant Union is hosting the Eviction Defense training this Saturday. The goal is to provide people who want to be in solidarity with tenants facing eviction, both information and skills that could prevent people from being evicted during the coldest time of the year and in the midst of a pandemic.

One resource that the Grand Rapids Area Tenant Union will be using is an Eviction Defense Guide put together by the group HEDS Up!, which you can find at this link

This training by the Grand Rapids Area Tenant Union will provide concrete ways for people to support tenants that could actually prevent them from being evicted and it doesn’t rely on the charity of non-profits that will not use Direct Action tactics to push for Housing Justice.

You can sign up for the training by going to this link

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