City council approves $300,000 to go toward eviction prevention services | KOB 4

City council approves $300,000 to go toward eviction prevention services

Brittany Costello
Updated: August 17, 2020 11:07 PM
Created: August 17, 2020 10:32 PM

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. - City councilors passed legislation that will go toward helping New Mexico residents that have been evicted due to lost wages during the pandemic.

On Monday, councilors agreed to set aside $300,000 from the CARES Act to go to the Albuquerque Eviction Prevention Program.

According to the legislation, the program is designed to assist with past due rent and/or utilities. The fund has served more than 700,000 in 2018.

Households can be given up to $1,000 if they meet certain criteria. Since COVID-19 started, the program has given more than $47,000 so far.

"If you just read and see, people are really having a difficult time with evictions," said Councilwoman Klarissa Peña. "People with their children who are getting sick. It's just a tough time right now, and we've provided lots of dollars for different things and I really think to help people stay in their homes. It's something the administration already does so it's providing additional resources."

"One of the things I learned, one of the staggering numbers I learned was that 40 percent of families living in this country are at risk for losing their homes. So, that, I can't even wrap my head around that, my arms around that. It's just a huge, huge number. Anything that we can do to trim that back has got to be a good thing. That's a lot of homeless people on the street," said Councilwoman Diane Gibson.

The concerns of an unemployment gap were acknowledged by state officials at the end of July. As time goes by, eviction worries continue to grow.

"There are not jobs for people to do, so this is not just a temporary tying someone over a few weeks until then get a new job. This is a lifeline keeping people in their homes," added Stephanie Welch, director of workers' rights at the New Mexico Center of Law and Poverty.

The Family and Community Services Department will be in charge of allocation the money. To learn more about the city's eviction prevention services, click here.

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