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KANSAS CITY, Mo. — According to the Kansas City Housing Authority, more than 9,000 residents are currently waiting for public housing assistance.

On Monday, those struggling financially due to the pandemic got an answered prayer.

Judge Dale Young signed an order stopping all evictions summons, hearings and writs of execution until Jan. 24. The previous order expired on December 31. 

According to court documents, this decision was made to keep court deputies safe. 

Friday morning, while executing an evacuation, Donald Smith of Blue Springs brandished a rifle. In response, officers shot Smith in the abdomen. He is in stable condition at this time.

Diego Garcia was evicted a few months ago after the pandemic forced the GMC plant where he worked to cut jobs. 

“It was obviously heartbreaking. It was devastating. Thank God, you know, I had a place lined up after that,” Garcia said.

Garcia said he was one of the lucky ones. However, many of his friends weren’t so lucky. 

“I see them on the street, you know, with their stuff, trying to sell their own belongings to just make whatever they can to get another place. It’s just very heartbreaking,” Garcia said.

Jenay Manley, a leader with KC Tenants, said every eviction is an act of violence.

“How can you have a stay-at-home order or ask people to stay at home when they are exposed to COVID-19 when we have no homes to go to?” Manley said.

KC Tenants routinely stages protests by locking themselves to the front doors of the Jackson County Courthouse. Last week they forced the courts to postpone 260 evictions.

The group said Monday’s announcement is a small victory, but it’s not enough.

“We’re not done, and we’re not going to stop until they actually stop doing evictions. We want no filings, no summons, no hearings, no writs and no arbitrary end dates,” Manley said.

They plan to continue their protest in front of the Jackson County Courthouse doors once this order is over.