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Community leaders host tenant resource fair as evictions on the rise

Tenant Resource Fair
Posted at 5:18 PM, Oct 02, 2021
and last updated 2021-10-02 18:18:03-04

Community leaders held a tenant resource fair for people struggling with housing instability brought on by the pandemic.

Led by District 6 Alderwoman Milele A. Coggs, a number of organizations met on Saturday at Andrew S. Douglas Middle School and offered information on rental assistance and eviction among other issues facing tenants.

"These are strange times given the pandemic and how people are operating," said Alderwoman Coggs. "So much stuff is usually word of mouth, but people are not engaging at the rate they once did."

The fair, open from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., offered workshops for tenants on renters rights, emergency rental assistance and defending against eviction.

Renter Phillip Lamson came for the workshops. Both he and his wife lost their jobs during the pandemic.

"We're caught between a rock and a hard place. Eventually, we'll probably just end up living in our truck," he said.

Lamson said he was recently notified his home is uninhabitable. But he's struggling to find a new place to live because he's facing eviction for back rent at his current home.

"So this has all become a mess, you know. We're in a situation where we're literally at the point of giving up," said Lamson.

His landlord filed to evict him a day after the federal eviction moratorium ended in late August. According to Eviction Lab data, there were 725 eviction filings in Milwaukee in September, the most of any month this year.

Community Advocates and the Social Development Commission, among other groups, were on hand Saturday to help renters fill out applications for rental and energy assistance.

"Everybody is impacted all the way around, from tenants to landlords. Everybody needs to be patient and have a little love and be able to work with each other," said Gabriel Drinkwater, who works with Community Advocates.

Alderwoman Coggs said few too people know what resources are available, and that's why she organized Saturday's event.

"Eviction is a serious thing that many people face in silence. But today is an opportunity to get out the information that they need," said Coggs.

For more information on how to receive rental assistance, you can visit:

And for support on energy assistance, visit: (call: 270-4653 or 211 for after-hours help).

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