KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Tiana Caldwell works as a nurse when she’s able. She said her family is also about get evicted.
“We were just getting to where we could get on our feet,” Caldwell said.
Caldwell is a two-time cancer survivor. She said being homeless would make her weakened immune system an easy target for other illnesses, like the coronavirus.
“They’re going to physically and actively begin to put people out on the street after tomorrow,” she said. “It’s as if they don’t understand, but how do you not understand?”
Caldwell said her family is three months behind on rent. Her story is like many others, as unemployment rates remain high. Nearly 15% of Americans are without a steady job. That means there’s no way to pay their housing bills.
“Some landlords have found they want to avoid evictions as much as possible,” Alexandra Alvarado, a representative with the American Apartment Owners Association, said. “For a lot of them, it’s their main source of income, and with all the expenses they have to pay and not receive any income, they’re also in a very difficult situation as well. They’re just as afraid as tenants.”
She said her organization is encouraging landlords to work out agreements with their tenants out of court. Yet, KC Tenants organizer Tara Raghuveer said they still expect a large number of eviction notices in addition to those already filed before the pandemic.
“The tenants in our base were suffering before COVID,” she said. “I’m also concerned with the level of discretion that gives to an individual landlord. That means they can decide to work with the tenant they deem desirable, but they may not work with every tenant.”