FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
State of Ohio – The Fair Housing Resource Center and The Legal Aid Society of Cleveland and have submitted a request to Lake, Geauga and Ashtabula Municipal Courts asking to suspend eviction hearings and cease the execution of writs of restitution during the COVID-19 pandemic.
As you are aware, COVID-19 is a public health emergency. The COVID-19 outbreak continues to spread through our communities at an exponential rate and is profoundly impacting nearly every facet of daily life.
Temporary closures of businesses, schools, and child-care services are putting those in the low- income community or on the edge of poverty in extreme financial insecurity. With every school in Ohio closed for at least four weeks, most parents whose workplace remains open will either have the added expense of childcare or will have to stay home themselves.
In balancing Ohio’s priorities to protect the public from COVID-19 and to maintain order through our judicial branch, suspending non-emergency eviction hearings that require even modest numbers of litigants and witnesses together complies with the health mandates. Furthermore, until COVID-19 can be effectively suppressed and maintained it is critical for rental households to continue to have a place to live, so that they too can “stay at home” pursuant to Governor DeWine’s
Stay at Home Order, which became effective March 23, 2020 at 11:59 p.m. Allowing continued congregations through eviction hearings not only threatens the public, but court staff and frequent court attendees as well. Courts themselves are susceptible to outbreaks.
“Many apartment rental offices are closed to the public. Even if a homeseeker has money to rent a new apartment, they can’t during this time as many rental offices are not taking new applications,” says the Executive Director of the Fair Housing Resource Center, Inc., Patricia Kidd. “As a result, social service agencies – already overburdened during this crisis – are consumed with calming the fears of local residents, and trying to come up with creative solutions.”
The public relies on leadership of courts in these critical moments, and one unconventional act could make a world of difference in this crisis. The issues at stake are life-threatening enough that an unusual course is warranted.
Fair Housing Resource Center, Inc. The Legal Aid Society of Cleveland Patricia Kidd, Esq. – Executive Director Melanie A. Shakarian, Esq. Mobile: 440-537-1352 Mobile: 216-215-0074 Patricia@Fhrc.org Melanie.Shakarian@lasclev.org