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Jackson County amended order suspends evictions through Jan. 24

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Posted at 3:05 PM, Jan 11, 2021
and last updated 2021-01-12 00:12:55-05

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — An eviction moratorium in Jackson County is in place through at least Jan. 24.

An amended order was approved Monday in the 16th Circuit Court in Jackson County, putting a hold on all court hearings, summons and writs related to evictions.

The order is signed by Jackson County Judge J. Dale Youngs, who noted the risk court personnel face.

“This recent social and political unrest has combined with the societal stress associated with the ongoing spread of COVID-19, and has created a current circumstance in which the risks court personnel face in simply carrying out their duties is high,” the order stated.

It comes after the KC Tenants group protested Friday outside the judge's home following a shooting in Blue Springs, where Jackson County Court deputies shot a man while serving an eviction notice. According to deputies, the man pointed a gun at them first.

Last month, 41 Action News reported on the roughly 50,000 households in the Kansas City metro at risk of homelessness with not enough resources to serve them all. Today, local advocates still are facing an uphill battle.

"Even though there's been a CARES Act moratorium, that was far from complete," Gina Chiala, executive director and staff attorney for the Heartland Center for Jobs and Freedom, said. "Then there was the CDC moratorium, which was flawed and then there's been lots of periods of time during the [COVID-19] pandemic where there was no moratorium at all, and so landlords have continued filing cases in large numbers, and we've continued to be extremely busy,"

She encouraged renters at risk of losing their home to reach out to 2-1-1 for assistance.

"Don't just give whatever money you are able to, to get to your landlord," Chiala said. "At the same time, try to negotiate something with your landlord, where they promise not to sue you, and allow you to have some of that rent forgiven in exchange for a rental aid payment."

KC Tenants said in a statement posted on Twitter that while they “won Zero Evictions January,” it’s not enough.

“This is not at all sufficient, as it only stops evictions for the next two weeks,” the tweet stated. “We need a full eviction moratorium: No filings, No summons, No hearings, No writs of execution, and not tied to an arbitrary end date.”

Ameerah Sanders, a leader with KC Tenants, reiterated the group's sentiment.

"People in positions of power claim that they don't have the power to make real and lasting change. But they do," Sanders said.