On Wednesday, March 26, Governor Pete Ricketts signed an executive order postponing evictions due to non-payment of rent from Coronavirus. OTOC is pleased at this great first step towards preventing more homelessness from evictions during this crisis. Thank you for your action that helped this to happen!
This order removes the requirement of eviction hearings to be held withing 10-14 days of filing, and judges are now required to wait until after May 31 for any evictions filed due to non-payment of rent due to Coronavirus causing illness, loss of work, or loss of work because children are home.
To improve on this executive order, OTOC is urging Douglas County Judge Louhaus to suspend all evictions, regardless of the cause. No one should lose their home in the midst of a global pandemic.
OTOC Leaders invite you to take action for vulnerable families in Omaha, especially during the current global pandemic. We also recognize some landlords will lose income during the pandemic as well. We will continue to work with congregations, housing agencies, tenants, and landlords for just policies that support struggling landlords as well as tenants.
OTOC believes that even one eviction will have a highly negative ripple effect in the community. Please use any or several of these talking points when contacting the following public officials.
- The Governor has eliminated the 10-14 day requirement, so now the judge has the authority to postpone these cases until May 31 or later if needed.
- Regardless of why the eviction is being called for, all persons would be effected in ways exacerbated by the current health crisis.
- People most at risk for eviction are also at high risk for COVID-19
- The systems we have in place to support people who lose their homes are already overburdened with COVID-19 response measures. Agencies are currently triaging and can no longer adequately address the needs of more persons and families facing homelessness.
- Losing housing means persons cannot social distance or quarantine if needed and thus will add to overburdening the health care system.
- Eviction will push people into vulnerable situations, i.e.- overcrowding into family and friends’ homes or into shelters where COVID-19 will spread to many more in our community.
- Crowded courtrooms will put many people at risk for exposure to COVID-19.
Contact Douglas County Judge Sheryl Lohaus. Ask her to withhold writs of eviction during the current crisis.
Judge Lohaus contact:
How we got here
We have signed on to a letter with 28 other organizations that was presented to the Omaha Mayor, Omaha City Council, Douglas County Board, and Douglas County Sharif and Judge Cheryl Louhaus. Read the full letter here.
With an average of 4,823 eviction actions filed annually in Douglas County – or approximately 92 per week– and 40 eviction hearings scheduled in Douglas County Courtroom 20 this Friday, March 20 alone, we must take immediate policy action to get ahead of the economic fallout.
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