Activists demand Birmingham extend eviction moratorium

News
October 02 2021 06:00 pm

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) — With the nationwide federal eviction moratorium recently ending, thousands of people across Birmingham could face a major problem in the coming days.

Organizations like the Birmingham Housing Authority serve 23,000 people in the city and they’ve been a huge advocate in extending the moratorium to help people out.

“The situation is grim overall. Not just for clients, but landlords overall,” said David Northern, Sr., president and CEO of the Birmingham Housing Authority District.

On Monday, members of Black Lives Matter and other organizations spoke out in front of City Hall, demanding Mayor Randall Woodfin and city leaders extend the eviction moratorium to help those in need. Group member Eric Hall laid out several other demands as well, saying the city has the funds to prevent mass evictions from happening.

“Something has to be done now,” Hall said.

“There needs to be a statewide movement that’s acted upon locally,” said Ronald Jackson with Citizens for Better Schools.

Activist Frances Wallace was another person who spoke at the press conference. She said she recently experienced being evicted herself and doesn’t want anyone to go through what she did.

“And I don’t believe that anybody in the community should go through this,” Wallace said.

Wallace said she was evicted from her apartment in Hoover back in February. She said since she’s immune compromised and couldn’t get vaccinated at the time, she couldn’t safely work, meaning she didn’t have a steady income. She said she had to live with a friend for a couple of months and slept in her car during the summer.

“I ended up just sleeping in my car. It was the middle of the summer and I had no AC,” she said.

Wallace said she found a place to live last month, but faced other struggles while finding a home.

“A lot of us don’t know when we’re getting our next meal. We don’t know where we’re going to shower. We don’t know where we’re going to sleep that night,” she said.

CBS 42 asked the city what legal power they have to enact a moratorium. According to state statute, only the state or federal government have a say.

“Then as the mayor, you need to petition the state and say ‘Hey, we’re in trouble,” Hall said.

Wallace and other activists plan to keep fighting to protect those facing eviction going forward.

“We have to come together to build back a better country,” Northern said.

The Birmingham Housing Authority claim they have not had to evict anyone due to the moratorium ending.

Click here if you need renter’s assistance in Birmingham.

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