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Oklahoma renters face the end of eviction moratorium

The moratorium on evictions in Oklahoma had been extended through July 31, providing residents with just a few more weeks of relief. The eviction moratorium was set in place by the Center for Disease Control in Atlanta, due to the ongoing COVID19 pandemic.

Over the last few months, COVID-19 cases have increased throughout the country, as the Delta variant has been found to be more contagious and more deadly than previous strains of COVID-19. Oklahoma is one of 12 states that has a 40% or less rate of adult vaccinations, contributing to the spike in cases statewide.

The eviction moratorium only applies to renters who are facing eviction due to inability to make payments. Each adult in a household that faces eviction must fill out paperwork to show their need to extend the chance to stay in their home.

Oklahoma governor unlikely to extend moratorium

The eviction moratorium can continue should Oklahoma Governor Stitt declare a state of emergency due to COVID-19 cases across the state.

However, this option seems unlikely. Governor Stitt, who espouses “personal responsibility” at every turn, rather than providing residents with support from offices like his own, has not made a comment on the current housing crisis, nor the spike in COVID-19 cases throughout the state.

Last year, nearly 15,000 renters faced eviction, despite some state agencies working together to provide relief to Oklahoma residents. Now those same agencies are scrambling to help citizens.

Non-profits working to support tenants

According to Legal Aid of Oklahoma, renters who faced extraordinary financial circumstances such as job loss or medical bills are eligible to avoid eviction for failure to pay rent. Applicants must show that they are trying to make payments in good faith.

Two non-profit organizations are helping Oklahoma renters navigate the financial support provided by the state, a $260 million package that came courtesy of the federal government. Community Cares Partners in Oklahoma City and Restore Hope in Tulsa are both helping to disperse funds for renters facing eviction. 

However, there are still some barriers to receiving support. To avoid eviction, renters who file paperwork must go to their mandatory court date, creating a tenuous situation for low-income citizens of the state. According to Katie Dilks, executive director of the Oklahoma Access to Justice Foundation, renters often “don’t have enough notice. They can’t get time off work. They can’t find childcare. They can’t find transportation. Or, quite frankly, before the existence of the moratorium and the current protections, they knew they were going to lose.”

To apply for eviction relief, go to the Oklahoma Legal Aid website, or call 2-1-1 for other assistance. 

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