August 6, 2020
Statement from ArchCity Defenders on St. Louis City’s Temporary Pause on Evictions
We are happy to hear that Presiding Judge Burlison of the 22nd Judicial Circuit Court in St. Louis City has suspended evictions through September 1. While we are reviewing the judge’s order to understand its full legal meaning, we know this order is only a first step. As the City’s Joint Board of Health and Hospitals declared this morning, evictions during the pandemic are a public health crisis.
A 27-day stay, or pause, on evictions is not enough. To truly address this crisis, our community needs time to assemble a comprehensive plan that ensures rental assistance and other federal aid make it into the hands of those who need it most. Evictions jeopardize the safety and stability of vulnerable families, inflict trauma, and are incredibly difficult to recover from. A rushed approach to evictions in the midst of a pandemic only exacerbates those harms.
Since the rise of COVID-19, we’ve represented clients at risk of eviction, partnered with tenants’ rights advocates calling for housing protections, and advocated for bold policy and leadership to address these systemic concerns. We stand with the tenants, activists, organizers, and community leaders who are calling for a 120-day moratorium on the physical eviction of families, the processing of any pending eviction cases, and the filing of new evictions. This must be done to prevent the displacement of thousands of vulnerable families in our community.
Z Gorley, Communications Director, ArchCity Defenders