By Mike McQuade
PHOENIX – Advocates are concerned the looming end of the state’s eviction moratorium will put thousands of Arizonans at risk of homelessness.
Gov. Doug Ducey put a pause on evictions for small business, nonprofits and renters until July 22, but when that window closes, the number of people living without shelter could shoot up, advocates for the homeless warn.
“This is a tsunami of terror that wakes our team up at night,” Wendy Johnson, executive director of Justa Center, told AZFamily. Johnson wants Ducey to extend the executive order and provide outreach to keep people from winding up on the streets.
Compounding the issue, some unemployed Arizonans have reported problems with benefits that led to their benefits accounts being closed, claims that are under investigation by the Department of Economic Security.
Courtney Gilstrap LeVinus, president of the Arizona Multihousing Association, told AZFamily Arizonans need more assistance to stay in their homes.
“Arizona has almost $127 million already available or could soon be dedicated toward rental assistance,” LeVinus said. “To my knowledge, just over a million of that has been deployed. And that really is the problem.”
Under the CARES Act, tenants who live in a property with a federally backed mortgage can’t be evicted, despite the expiration of state moratoriums, Bloomberg reports. However, it said, tenants may not know how the rules apply to their circumstances.
As of Tuesday, July 14, the Arizona Department of Health Services reported 4,273 new cases of COVID-19 and 92 deaths, bringing the total to 2,337. It said 19,488 tests for COVID-19 have been completed in public and private labs in Arizona, and 11.9 % of tests have come back positive for the virus that causes the disease.
School districts plan for delayed start
Schools can’t reopen their doors until at least Aug. 17, and districts across metro Phoenix are hammering out plans to make that happen, either in-person or remotely or some combination of both, KTAR reported. For example, Phoenix Union High School District plans to begin remote learning on Aug. 3, while Paradise Valley will start remote before resuming in-person Sept. 8.
Arizona teacher dies after sharing classroom with colleagues
Three teachers in Arizona who shared a classroom for a virtual class contracted COVID-19 despite social distancing, wearing masks and gloves and using hand sanitizer, CNN reported. Kimberly Chavez Lopez Byrd, 61, who served the Hayden Winkelman School District for 38 years, died. The two other teachers spoke to CNN to raise concerns about classroom safety for kids.
Chandler official loses his mother to COVID-19
Matt Orlando, a Chandler City Council member, lost his mother to COVID-19 in April, The Arizona Republic reports. Three months after the devastating news, Orlando wants to help spread awareness, especially now with Arizona being a COVID-19 hotspot. Orlando wants to open people’s mind about this virus because he doesn’t want anyone to go through the pain he did.