KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Renters across Missouri are asking Gov. Mike Parson to take action. They want to see a freeze on rent and mortgage payments.
Hundreds of renters across the state logged on to a Zoom rally asking for his help.
“I’m a single mom of two kids and a tenant in Springfield, Missouri. Until two weeks ago, I was a cook at a local restaurant. Now I am one of the thousands across the state who are unemployed,” Victoria Atic said.
“I paid April rent to my landlord, but it left me broke. I have no savings left, and I don’t know how I’m going to make May rent. It seems impossible.”
Atic was one of many who shared their story.
“I’ve been laid off from two of my jobs. I don’t know where my children and I will be a few months from now when my landlord expects money that simply isn’t there,” KC renter Ashley Johnson said.
“I can’t give them rent money from an account that’s already overdrawn. We need a rent and mortgage suspension now. And that means no payments, no late fees and no debt.”
KC Tenants held the rally online. They want to not only see rent and mortgage payments frozen during the pandemic, but also a statewide ban on evictions, services not be shut off, and expanded help for the homeless.
“Our communities are already struggling and disproportionately impacted by this virus. In St. Louis City, every person that has died from this virus has been black,” St. Louis renter Sarah Watkins said.
Parson said in his daily press conference Wednesday it’s not something they’re doing now — but could do in the future.
“We reached out to the Supreme Court and talked to some people over there the other day,” Parson said. “The court says right now that it’s not a priority on eviction notices across the states, so at this point we have taken no action. My understanding is the court is not taking any action at this point on that. So we’ll evaluate that every day if it becomes a problem.”
“If you don’t take action, Governor Parson, I will be evicted because I can’t pay my rent. I just can’t, and my kids will be what? Homeless?” Atic said.
KC Tenants worked with organizations across the state to create the Coalition to Protect Missouri Tenants and allies who are heading this effort together.