For Immediate ReleaseNews from Detroit Justice Center and a coalition of legal organizations, nonprofits, and community groups
Monday, March 16, 2020
Joe McGuire, Detroit Justice Center
email@example.com; (313) 969-7076
Coalition of Legal Organizations and Community Groups Calls for a Moratorium on Evictions in Detroit Due to COVID-19 CrisisDemands that the City of Detroit and the 36th District Court take immediate action
DETROIT – A coalition of legal organizations and community groups has issued a public statement calling for a moratorium on all evictions in Detroit due to the ongoing public health crisis created by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Though Detroit’s 36th District Court has limited its docket until April 6, 2020, the statement issued today by the coalition argues that further measures are needed.
“It is an entirely foreseeable and understandable consequence that as a result of this crisis, many Detroiters will struggle to make their next rent payment. They should not then face eviction in the midst or in the immediate aftermath of a pandemic” reads a portion of the statement, which calls for a moratorium on evictions that would extend until 30 days after the end of the state of emergency declared by Governor Gretchen Whitmer last week. The statement also demands that tenants who fall behind in rent during the emergency be given 45 days to catch up on rent.
The statement has a broad range of signatories including legal organizations such as the ACLU of Michigan and the Detroit Bar Association’s Access to Justice Committee, local nonprofits such as United Community Housing Coalition and Detroit Justice Center, activist organizations like Detroit Eviction Defense and Michigan Welfare Rights Organization, faith-related groups such as Central Detroit Christian Community Development and Detroit Jews for Justice, environmental groups like Sunrise Movement Detroit and the Eastern Michigan Environmental Action Council (EMEAC), and community groups including Charlevoix Village Association and Neighbors Building Brightmoor.
What:Public statement calling for a moratorium on evictions due to the COVID-19 crisis
WHO:Detroit Justice Center and a coalition of legal organizations, nonprofits, and community groups
Monday, March 16, 2020
The City of Detroit
We are calling on the City of Detroit and the 36th District Court of Michigan to immediately order an emergency moratorium on all evictions until 30 days after the end of the state of emergency recently declared by the State of Michigan as a result of the ongoing public health crisis caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, or until 30 days after Detroit’s public schools are opened for regular operation, whichever is later. Tenants who have fallen behind in rent during the state of emergency should be given until 45 days after the end of the state of emergency to pay any outstanding rent before facing eviction.
The 36th District Court has already suspended most civil matters through April 6, 2020, but we do not believe that this goes far enough and believe further measures are needed for reasons stated below.
Detroit residents are already losing income due to illness and the closure of workplaces. The closure of public schools means that families across the city will now struggle to find ways to feed and care for their children during the day. The closure of work sites means these same families will also face an immediate loss of crucial income. It is an entirely foreseeable and understandable consequence that as a result of this crisis, many Detroiters will struggle to make their next rent payment. They should not then face eviction in the midst or in the immediate aftermath of a pandemic.
Additionally, resuming evictions would exacerbate an already-growing public health crisis. Residents should not have to decide between exposing themselves to crowded courtrooms or having a default judgment entered against them in an eviction case. Detroiters should not be forced to change residences at a time when experts are advising all to stay home as much as possible.
Courts across the state and the country are already suspending or limiting their dockets in response to COVID-19. Governor Gretchen Whitmer has declared a state of emergency across Michigan. The City of Detroit and the 36th District Court of Michigan absolutely have the power to place a moratorium on evictions during this crisis and its aftermath, and the unprecedented circumstances now faced by Detroit’s residents demand it.
The 36th District Court of Michigan’s decision to suspend most landlord-tenant proceedings through April 6 is not enough. Due to the severe effects that COVID-19 already has had on the health and economic security of our communities, we believe that it would be manifestly unjust to resume evictions during or in the wake of this crisis.
Detroit Justice Center
ACLU of Michigan
United Community Housing Coalition
Michigan Legal Services
Detroit Bar Association Access to Justice Committee
We The People of Detroit
Detroit People’s Platform
Michigan Welfare Rights Organization
Center for Civil Justice
Sugar Law Center
Detroit Eviction Defense
Sunrise Movement Detroit
Eastern Michigan Environmental Action Council (EMEAC)
Charlevoix Village Association
Community Development Advocates of Detroit (CDAD)
Central Detroit Christian Community Development
Detroit Jews for Justice
Dream of Detroit
Good Jobs Now
Neighbors Building Brightmoor