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Thousands in Hillsborough, Pinellas counties face eviction; University Area CDC workshop looks to help

Virus Outbreak Rental Assistance
Posted at 6:42 AM, Aug 30, 2021
and last updated 2021-08-30 08:00:50-04

It seems to be the perfect storm — a pandemic, rising rent and housing prices, and pay that isn't keeping up with inflation.

The end of the eviction moratorium has millions of Americans wondering what they are going to do next.

"It's unfortunate, but you know the time on the clock is basically running out for those folks," Tom DiFiore with Bay Area Legal Services said.

He serves as the head of housing with the organization.

He expects to see evictions happen sooner rather than later and that's because landlords have already been filing the paperwork to evict people for more than a year now. Landlords could file but they couldn't put it into action until now.

"The next step is the sheriff is going to be putting a 48-hour notice on the door in Hillsborough County," Difiore said

In some counties, Difiore said that notice could be as short as 24 hours.

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For the thousands of Tampa Bay area residents who find themselves in this situation, DiFiore said there are few preventative steps people can begin to take.

"You can petition the court. You can file if you went down to the courthouse. It's called a motion to stay the read, but essentially give your reasons but what you need to know is that you have nowhere else to go. That you've lost your job. That you have no money. That those likely are not legal reasons," DiFiore said.

If that doesn't work, he said it's best to clear out the items where you're living.

"So, sometimes the effort is better use to get your stuff out because once that 48 hours expires then the locks are changed and your property can be put on the property line. What I can tell people that maybe not at that stage or even at that stage, the main thing to say at this point is to definitely apply for rental assistance," DiFiore said

The University Area Community Development Corporation is hoping to help thousands of local residents.

On Friday, September 17 at 2 p.m. they will hold a Landlord/Tenant Rights Community Training.

Sarah Combs is the CEO of the organization and said education and information are what they're trying to provide at the workshop.

"We're just asking for people to come out and get educated learn more about what your rights are and how you can prevent evictions. You know landlords have rights, but tenants do, too and that's really the purpose for the training," Combs said.

Combs said between Hillsborough and Pinellas counties nearly 5,000 people are at risk of eviction.

Unfortunately, that's a number she expects to see rise.

"There's so much funding out there to be able to help them and so we want to make sure that our eviction defense program that we've launched is helping meet the need where they are," Combs said.

The seminar will be held at the University Area Community Center in the Community Room located at 14013 N 22nd Street, Tampa, FL 33613.

For more information about the event click here.