Maricopa County Sees Surge in Number of Evictions

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Maricopa County had a surge in the number of evictions for January. 7,031 eviction filings were recorded, according to court spokesperson Scott Davis. That number is the largest since September 2008, the time of the last housing crash. Focusing on the issue, Community Legal Services is an organization that offers help to people dealing with all sorts of legal issues, including evictions.

Director of litigation and advocacy with Community Legal Services, Pamela Bridge, sat down with us to talk about the organization’s mission during this spike of evictions.

What is causing these evictions?

“Rent increases. Substantial rent increase from our low income housing to our high income housing. Our populations can’t afford these rent increases- The rent is increasing so much and people can’t afford it so we saw almost 7,000 evictions filed in Maricopa county in January, ” said Bridge.

Are there any federal funds, state assistance, any protection to help with evictions?

When asked about any, if any, available protection was available for those getting evicted, Bridge said many of the protections only existed during COVID-19 and have come to an end. For example, the CARES Act of 2020.

“There is still rent assistance out there but the problem in Arizona is that our eviction process is so fast,” said Bridge. “We have one of the fastest processes in the entire country and it’s really difficult for people to get rent assistance when they fall behind in time to stop that eviction.”

What is needed to obtain affordable housing?

“We need to see incentives for developers to be creating affordable housing, incentives for nonprofits to be creating affordable housing. People on fixed incomes, there is no way they can afford rent increase right now,” said Bridge.

What kind of asisstance is out there?

Bridge suggests seeking rental assistance as well as Community Legal Services.

“We offer free legal assistance and concerning rent, we can assist people regardless of their income,” said Bridge. Community Legal Services can provide advice, court representation and negotiation with landlords if needed.

Pamela Bridge

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