Community advocates worry about courts reopening June 1 as thousands face evictions

Updated: May. 28, 2020 at 6:10 PM EDT
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CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - In just a few days, courts will open back up for hearings, which includes eviction proceedings.

Those have been halted for several months in North Carolina, assuring people weren’t out on the streets after losing jobs and not being able to pay rent due to COVID-19.

Starting on June 1, landlords will be able to continue with eviction proceedings that have piled up the past few months.

Community advocates expect thousands of people to face eviction notices on Monday.

Already, there have been more than 1,800 filings for evictions in court since the shutdown, according to the Crisis Assistance Ministry.

“These are people who have jobs working at Walmart and restaurants and gas stations,” said Chris Boutin who advocates for families living in motels. “Come Monday, if these families decide not to fight the evictions, we will have a lot of people on the streets.”

Boutin and his family spent their quarantine trying to help families facing hardships by organizing meals and fundraisers for families in motels. He said that many of these families he’s worked with, at least 50 percent of their rent or payments due and are likely facing eviction.

“It tears your heart out. These are great people. These are hard-working people with families and newborns and kids in CMS schools," Boutin said.

One father who is facing eviction on Monday called a WBTV News reporter on Thursday.

He wasn’t able to do an interview at the moment but said he’s doing everything in the next few days to protect his family and keep a roof over their head.

“People are really scared. They’re trying their best. Their scraping and trying to do everything they can to get funds together," Boutin said. “They’re talking to their landlords and the owners of hotels. They were living paycheck to paycheck to start with, and then you put this on top of it, there’s just no way to make ends meet.”

Crisis Assistance Ministry’s mission is to help with affordable housing in Charlotte.

They said that in a 24-hour period this week, they had more than 600 requests for help.

The group also said that COVID-19 has just proven the problems Charlotte already has with affordable housing.

“It wasn’t a surprise to us, but highlighted the deeper issues and the system issues as a community in terms of making sure everyone has access to safe and affordable housing," said Liana Humphrey, the communications director for Crisis Assistance Ministry.

Many advocates told WBTV that some people living in hotels and motels will just leave before an eviction notice is served and that’s because they don’t want to get an eviction on their record.

They think that could lead to more families on the streets come Monday.

If you’d like to help, you can donate monetary donations to the Crisis Assistance Ministry. They give these funds to help families pay for rent and utilities when requested.

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