Eviction ban coming to an end soon and anti-poverty advocates are concerned
LONDON, ONT. -- In March, at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, the provincial government made the decision to place a ban on evictions, that ban is now set to expire in just a few days time.
With a province-wide moratorium on evictions ending Aug.1, local anti-poverty advocates are sounding the alarm saying the city’s census of homelessness is troubled enough.
Kristie Pagniello, executive director at Neighbourhood Legal Services for London-Middlesex, says those who received a notice of eviction before the pandemic hit are most at risk.
“The first orders that we will see enforced by the sheriff Aug. 1 are orders that already exist,” says Pagniello.
“These can be eviction orders that a landlord has already obtained that they have yet to bring to the sheriff or they can be eviction orders sitting on the sheriff’s desk. So we’re bracing for the fact that there could be a number, and it could be enforced very quickly after Aug. 1.”
CERB payments are elso ending by Oct. 3.
Pagniello says that anytime an eviction order is being enforced against a tenant, they hold the right to make a ‘request for review’ to the landlord and tenant board. But she says that requests for reviews are not often granted.
“With most cases, with the ban on evictions being lifted, people will be evicted,” says Pagneillo about those who received an eviction letter before COVID-19 hit.
Abe Oudshoorn, a housing and anti-poverty advocate, says the city could see a dramatic spike in the number of people without a place to live if something isn’t done.
“Homelessness now is very concerning. In our neighbourhoods we are seeing shelters at capacity and it’s a time when shelters are trying to decrease their capacity to keep people safe because of COVID-19. It is just not the right thing to do at this time,” says Oudshoorn.
Oudshoorn says that he hopes to see more financial assistance provided to people struggling or an extension on the ban of evictions.
“It’s so crucial when we already have a trouble with homelessness…the rental rates right now are so high. If they are in a place right now that's the best case scenario…once you’re out and into homelessness there's a huge risk you’ll be stuck in that.”
Rental prices in London have not been heavily affected by COVID-19. According to rentals.ca, the average cost of a one-bedroom apartment in London is about $1,200.
The Housing Stability Bank (HSB) at the Centre of Hope, offers financial assistance to low-income Londoners to obtain or return their housing and to “those at risk of homelessness to remain housed.”
Program manager of HSB, Melissa Jeffrey, tells CTV News that they do expect to see an increase in demand upon the removal of the eviction ban.
“We will be working hard to support low income Londoners in stabilizing and maintaining their housing on the other side of the pandemic,” says Jeffrey.
For assistance or more information on next steps over eviction fears click here.