Eviction filings hit 13-year high in Maricopa County
PHOENIX (AP) — Eviction filings in Arizona’s largest county have surged higher than at any time in the last 13 years. Data released Thursday by the Maricopa County Justice Court shows that the July filing figure of 6,405 is higher than any month since October 2008, when the number hit 6,975.
It’s also the second month in a row that the court, including Phoenix metro, has seen a monthly filing total higher than any seen in 2019 before the coronavirus pandemic. Not all eviction filings result in lockouts by landlords, which can be forestalled with last-minute payments with rental assistance or court agreements.
Maricopa County had among the highest levels of evictions in the United States before state and federal eviction moratoriums slowed lockouts during the pandemic. Those eviction bans have long since ended.
Among the many affected is Phoenix mother, Yannie Watson. Watson is like many hard-working Arizonans, struggling to pay the rent so she can stay in her apartment. “I have a friend that got evicted right here, and now she’s out on the street with two kids,” said Watson. “She has nowhere to go.”
Maricopa County Constable Darlene Martinez said the past few weeks have been crazy, with the number of eviction notices she’s had to serve. Inflation and a lack of affordable places to live have directly impacted the number of people getting kicked out of their homes. “Single families, the elderly, veterans, single parents and single moms,” said Martinez. “It’s affecting all families. There’s nobody that is immune from all of this, it’s affecting everyone.”
Housing experts are doing their best to inform struggling tenants that rental assistance is still available through local and federal programs. However, not everyone applies to see if they qualify, and they end up being evicted.
Justice Court Judge Leonore Driggs said evictions can be heartbreaking, especially knowing help is available. “Our court is located by the CASS Center, where all the tents of homeless people are, “said Driggs. “More often than not, I’m thinking about whether I am putting another person in a tent. It is difficult. We do not take it lightly.”
The White House is calling on states to find ways to prevent evictions as federal emergency rental assistance funds made available during the pandemic start to wind down. New Mexico was lauded this week during a White House summit for its successful programs to rein in evictions, said the state’s Supreme Court Chief Justice C. Shannon Bacon.
Bacon credited a court-based eviction prevention program phased in this year to help tenants and landlords. New Mexico has awarded over $148 million for rent, utilities, emergency housing, and moving costs to help more than 44,000 households, the court’s administrative office said Thursday.
Visit the links below to see different assistance programs across the Valley.
- For more information on Maricopa County’s assistance program, click here.
- For more information on the City of Phoenix’s assistance program, click here.
- For more information on the City of Glendale’s assistance program, click here.
- For more information on the City of Mesa’s assistance program, click here.
Arizona’s Family News Staff contributed to this report.
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