As eviction blockades continue in KC, landlord groups call for rental assistance

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Leaders with the tenants rights group, KC Tenants, locked arms outside the Eastern Jackson County courthouse on Tuesday blocking the entrance for morning eviction hearings.Group leaders say the physical blockade stopped 41 morning eviction hearings, and virtual disruptions delayed 62 evictions in the afternoon.Independence resident Kenneth Gobble welcomed the group’s actions.”I’m barely making it,” Gobble said. “I lost one job because of the virus. I had to take a pay cut.”Gobble said his landlord refused to fix problems with his property but still demands rent. He will now face another eviction proceeding in February.KC Tenants leaders took similar action in October, chaining themselves to the Jackson County courthouse in downtown Kansas City, saying every eviction is an act of violence especially during a pandemic. But leaders with groups that provide resources to landlords and housing providers say delaying eviction proceedings can prove dangerous for communities, too, especially if a tenant has criminal problems.”If I lived next to that person, I wouldn’t want that eviction proceeding to be disrupted because I want the criminal living next door to me to be removed,” said Kim Tucker, executive director of Mid-America Association of Real Estate Investors.Tucker said MAERI is focused on helping tenants access rental assistance and other local programs to help pay rent.”We would much rather get the renter to one of these programs and help them get all the paperwork completed so they can get their rent paid than fill out an eviction proceeding,” she said. A stimulus package approved by Congress last month extended a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention moratorium on evictions until Jan. 31. It also provides $25 billion to state and local officials to provide rental assistance to tenants.”We need to connect tenants that need help with available resources,” said Robert Long, president of Landlords Inc.Long also talked about KC Tenants’ lawsuit against Jackson County Chief Judge David Byrn after the group partnered with the ACLU to sue Byrn in federal court to stop evictions.The lawsuit claimed letting evictions continue is in violation of the CDC’s eviction moratorium from September.A federal judge, however, denied an injunction in that lawsuit in November, saying eviction proceedings could continue.”Nobody blocked the door when they sought to be heard through the court when they sued the court,” Long said. “And it was important that they were heard, you know.”KC Tenants leaders say they will continue to demand a halt to evictions. The group is planning a rally at the Jackson County Courthouse on Thursday to call for a “Zero Eviction January.”

Leaders with the tenants rights group, KC Tenants, locked arms outside the Eastern Jackson County courthouse on Tuesday blocking the entrance for morning eviction hearings.

Group leaders say the physical blockade stopped 41 morning eviction hearings, and virtual disruptions delayed 62 evictions in the afternoon.

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Independence resident Kenneth Gobble welcomed the group’s actions.

“I’m barely making it,” Gobble said. “I lost one job because of the virus. I had to take a pay cut.”

Gobble said his landlord refused to fix problems with his property but still demands rent. He will now face another eviction proceeding in February.

KC Tenants leaders took similar action in October, chaining themselves to the Jackson County courthouse in downtown Kansas City, saying every eviction is an act of violence especially during a pandemic.

But leaders with groups that provide resources to landlords and housing providers say delaying eviction proceedings can prove dangerous for communities, too, especially if a tenant has criminal problems.

“If I lived next to that person, I wouldn’t want that eviction proceeding to be disrupted because I want the criminal living next door to me to be removed,” said Kim Tucker, executive director of Mid-America Association of Real Estate Investors.

Tucker said MAERI is focused on helping tenants access rental assistance and other local programs to help pay rent.

“We would much rather get the renter to one of these programs and help them get all the paperwork completed so they can get their rent paid than fill out an eviction proceeding,” she said.

A stimulus package approved by Congress last month extended a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention moratorium on evictions until Jan. 31. It also provides $25 billion to state and local officials to provide rental assistance to tenants.

“We need to connect tenants that need help with available resources,” said Robert Long, president of Landlords Inc.

Long also talked about KC Tenants’ lawsuit against Jackson County Chief Judge David Byrn after the group partnered with the ACLU to sue Byrn in federal court to stop evictions.

The lawsuit claimed letting evictions continue is in violation of the CDC’s eviction moratorium from September.

A federal judge, however, denied an injunction in that lawsuit in November, saying eviction proceedings could continue.

“Nobody blocked the door when they sought to be heard through the court when they sued the court,” Long said. “And it was important that they were heard, you know.”

KC Tenants leaders say they will continue to demand a halt to evictions. The group is planning a rally at the Jackson County Courthouse on Thursday to call for a “Zero Eviction January.”



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