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As Hearings Begin, Ohio Could Face An 'Avalanche Of Evictions'

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The Dayton Municipal Court will start hearing eviction cases again beginning June 1. Other courts in the Miami Valley have already started hearing cases.

The Dayton Municipal Court has seen a decrease in eviction filings following Ohio’s stay-at-home order issued in March. In April, the court had less than a quarter of the number of eviction filings compared to the same month in 2019. But some advocates worry there may be a wave of cases to come. 

Debra Lavey is a senior attorney with Advocates for Basic Legal Equality (ABLE), a non-profit law firm serving low-income people in western Ohio. Based on the high unemployment rate in Ohio, she is concerned that there will be “an avalanche of evictions.”

“Without some broad-based rental assistance, we at ABLE have a real concern that we're going to see a spike in homelessness,” she said. “In Ohio, we've done a good job, I think, of flattening the curve as it relates to the virus. But we've not done a good job of flattening the curve as it relates to homelessness.”

She says one thing ABLE is advocating for is for the courts to order mediation for nonpayment cases, so that tenants can try to work out an agreement with their landlords to stay in their homes. The non-profit is also educating courts about the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act) and advocating for tenants to have legal representation at hearings.

While working at the station Leila Goldstein has covered the economic effects of grocery cooperatives, police reform efforts in Dayton and the local impact of the coronavirus pandemic on hiring trends, telehealth and public parks. She also reported Trafficked, a four part series on misinformation and human trafficking in Ohio.