MILWAUKEE — Fear grows for many Milwaukeeans with the eviction moratorium now expired. While some see this as a good thing, others are left with little hope.
On Saturday nearly six million Americans across the country were behind on rent as the eviction moratorium that helped shelter them expired. The situation has created a frightening potential for many to be forced out of their homes. Here in Milwaukee, experts are predicting an uptick.
Amara Lang, an organizer from the Milwaukee Autonomous Tenants Union, has been working around the clock to assist local tenants with resources to be able to pay rent.
"There are about 15,000 evictions filed every year in Milwaukee, and so the need is enormous," said Lang.
Currently, Lang is working with a tenant who has chosen to stay anonymous to protect his identity. The tenant is disabled, unable to work and his wife just recently lost her job. They've been depending on the moratorium to stay afloat, but now they are battling with the stress of it all.
"Well, my blood pressure went up. My blood pressure is already high. So I'm trying to figure out something, I haven't come up with a thing. I'm working on it, " said the tenant.
On the other hand, some are happy to see the moratorium end. Many landlords headed straight to the courthouse Monday morning to file their evictions.
Ken Mitche, a local landlord, filed two and is happy to see aid end.
"A lot of people that I think are going get evicted had the opportunities to pay their rent. I'm a landlord, I will work with my tenants the best I can. But when you totally take advantage of the situation, you leave me in a bad position where I have no choice but to do an eviction," said Mitche.
As every situation is a case-by-case scenario, Colleen Foley of Legal Aid is helping both renters and landlords understand their options.
"Time is of the essence. People should move promptly to get connected to the funding and or legal counsel," said Foley.
According to data from the Milwaukee County Circuit Court Clerk's Office, 173 evictions were filed. This is the most recorded since April. Foley predicts more are on the horizon.
"The eviction filings have been diminished because of the eviction moratorium, and in conjunction with the funding, so that's part of the reason we're all expecting an uptick," said Foley.