CINCINNATI – Despite continued federal guidance against allowing evictions as the COVID-19 pandemic lasts well into the spring, a Hamilton County judge announced that the Cincinnati district court will soon begin processing evictions again. Now a city council is taking action to apply the brakes.
“Most of these evictions involve children,” Councilor Greg Landsman said during a news conference Friday morning where he put in place an ordinance that would reinstate the eviction ban.
Last month, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention extended their moratorium to June 30th.
“For me, it’s about making sure that every child can stay in their homes so that every child is as successful and healthy as possible,” Landsman said.
Nick Dinardo, an attorney for the Legal Aid Society in the greater Cincinnati area, said the region will stand alone among major Ohio cities in reintroducing the eviction process.
“In Cleveland, in Columbus, in Dayton, renters in all of these big Ohio cities are still covered by CDC regulation. We’re an outlier,” he said. “People in Silverton or Gulf Manor, Lincoln Heights, Forest Park, Delhi, this is not going to help them.”
Politicians, activists and tenant rights organizers in the US have argued that evicting tenants during the COVID-19 pandemic is unfair, given the unpredictable impact of the novel coronavirus on the global economy and everyday safety.
Hamilton County Magistrate Court Judge Heather Russell announced a week ago that evictions would resume and said an appeals court has instructed lower courts to do so while examining a case with landlords who say that eviction restrictions cause financial burdens.
On the same day, the CDC extended its moratorium. The sixth instance appeals court for Kentucky, Ohio, Michigan and Tennessee approved an injunction against the CDC on behalf of a group of Tennessee landlords. Russell said that decision compelled her to reopen the case.
“I’m just doing what the Supreme Court tells us,” Russell told WCPO last week. “It’s not that I’m a tough, cruel and cold hearted person who wants to evict people in COVID. Like every other judge in our federal district, I have to follow the recent decision of a higher court that the moratorium has been stopped. “
Russell declined to comment on this report.
Hamilton County has $ 60 million in government aid to help people pay rent up to 12 months overdue and rent up to three months in the future. Landsman said he hoped his proposal would give proponents more time to get that relief money into the hands of county residents who may be homeless.
Cincinnati City Council will vote on Landsman’s move
Those in need of help have options. You can contact the following organizations for help finding help:
- St. Vincent de Paul / Community Action Agency: 513-421-0602
- United Way: 2-1-1
- Same housing options: 513-721-4663
- Local court hotline: 513-946-5650