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City braces for eviction to start back up, telling tenants there’s still time to get help

Eviction Notice
Eviction Notice(WMTV)
Updated: Jun. 8, 2021 at 6:11 PM CDT
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LINCOLN, Neb. (KOLN) - Three weeks out from the eviction moratorium expiring, the Lancaster County Court docket for evictions is already filling up.

“We’re really fearful the floodgates are going to open,” Mindy Rush Chipman, director of the Lincoln Commission on Human Rights said.

She said there are already more than 30 evictions scheduled for July.

“The fact that we’re at the beginning of June and there is already a load of cases is concerning,” Chipman said.

This is what the city has been working overtime to avoid, even hiring additional staff to process applications for rent assistance.

“We want to help as many people impacted by the pandemic from COVID-19 as we can,” Dan Marvin, head of Urban Development said.

Marvin said the city is using a $14 million federal grant to help pay people’s rent and utility bills. They got the money in January and have paid out $5.2 million to 1,600 households. The money can pay late or future rent and utilities for up to 12 months. Marvin said the average payment to a household is $4,000.

They have $9 million more to give and applications have been pouring in.

“We have the funds to help a lot of people,” Chipman said. “The question is if the housing provider will give us enough time to connect those funds to the households.”

To connect as many people with resources as possible, staff with the Commission on Human Rights are reaching out to tenants who are at risk.

“We’re trying to catch them as soon as possible,” Chipman said. “But it takes time to process.”

Marvin said because of a recent influx of applications it’s likely to take about a month to get checks to landlord and utility providers.

They’d encourage anyone in need to reach out now because the moratorium is set to end June 30. To apply you can call 402-413-2085 or go to lincoln.ne.gov/rent.

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