Local lawmaker forms coalition to help Oklahomans being evicted

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OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – With the federal moratorium on evictions and the extra $600 in unemployment benefits expiring, Legal Aid Services Oklahoma says we could be looking at 130,000 evictions across Oklahoma.

On Friday, State Representative Jason Lowe introduced a new coalition to help change that. He says their goal is to educate the community, and hopefully keep people in their homes.

“We’ve got to educate the community. We have people that are on your side. We understand that unemployment has expired – federal enhancements on unemployment benefits has expired,” Lowe said. “We understand that you feel all alone, but we are here to help you. We are here to support you. That’s why this coalition is here today.”

The coalition is trying to shed light on the options people have if they are in danger of getting evicted. You can even be eligible for legal aid from Legal Aid Services, you just have to reach out.

“The outcomes are so much better for tenants if they have legal representation,” Jennifer Montagna with Legal Aid Services said. “Most landlords have an attorney, and if they don’t, they know the process. They know what’s going on.”

The state has also set aside $10 million in CARES money to help people struggling to pay rent.

Executive Director for Community CARES Partners Ginny Carl says more needs to be done, because they’ve already received 1,000 applications from people and families asking for help.

“Right now, I’ll be honest, it’s a crap shoot. It’s a crap shoot that we are on the losing end of,” Carl said. “When you think about it – $10 million for the entire state of Oklahoma – it doesn’t add up to much.”

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