Pima County approves Eviction Protection Agency Partnership

  • Anne Thwaits
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PIMA COUNTY, August 17, 2020 – Pima County has expanded its Community Action Agency program and developed an innovative new approach to address the significant need for rental assistance in Pima County. 

The County Board of Supervisors, in a 5-0 vote Monday, approved a partnership with the Community Investment Corporation (CIC) to distribute $3,625,000 to prevent evictions related to COVID-19. The Eviction Prevention Agency Partnership is part of the County’s overall commitment of $20.5 million from six unique funding sources for rental assistance, including rent and utility costs, moving and associated deposits, and related court and legal fees.

The new eviction prevention program contracts with CIC to lead a partnership of local nonprofit housing providers to serve at least 600 low-income households affected by COVID-19 that are in eviction proceedings. Assistance will be provided to pay landlords for unpaid rent due since March 1, 2020 if they agree to waive late fees, withdraw the eviction and enter into a payment plan with the tenant to keep their family from becoming homeless. Legal fees and court fees incurred since March may also be reimbursed.

Pima County also hired and trained 25 full-time, temporary workers to expedite rental assistance applications through its Community Action Agency after a tenant had applied through the Arizona Department of Housing. Tenants can still apply for these funds through ADOH online at: https://housing.az.gov/

Gov. Doug Ducey on July 16 extended the moratorium postponing COVID-19 related evictions until Oct. 31, 2020. The Executive Order ensures renters impacted by COVID-19 will be able to stay in their homes while extending the time to access rental assistance programs. In the meantime, landlords can still go to court to get an eviction judgment against a tenant. Constables are the point of enforcement for the eviction postponement.

Constables will also be integral to informing and working with tenants and landlords to establish direct referrals to the CIC Eviction Prevention Agency Partnership to get these funds quickly to those most in need. A network of nonprofit partners will assist.

“It’s all hands on deck to get these CARES funds to participating landlords willing not to evict their COVID-19 impacted households, including families with children,” said Daniel Tylutki, the Pima County Community and Workforce Development Deputy Director. 

“These two innovative programs are designed to work in concert. First, to process rental assistance applications on the front end before a landlord is resorted to file an eviction complaint. Second, to directly help participating property owners and tenants currently in the eviction process via timely payment of past rent via the Eviction Prevention Agency Partnership.   

“With these strategies, we solve our capacity issues that confronted us as we faced an unprecedented demand for assistance. Through our collaboration with nonprofit partners and the Constables, we will gain speed and efficiency so both tenants and landlords get relief much more quickly.”

Tenants who owe rent still need to abide by the governor’s Executive Order, which requires certain documentation and a payment plan with the landlord. Pima County has forms/checklists/links/information to help tenants access rental assistance, avoid eviction and track down other resources, such as utility assistance and legal help, at its webpage, What Tenants Need to Know During Covid-19.