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Eviction prevention help available at Tuesday info fair

Tucson residents worried about being evicted during the pandemic can access resources like rental assistance, vaccinations, pet food and information on paying overdue utilities at an information event Tuesday, June 8.

The eviction prevention resource fair will be held 8 a.m.-noon at Literacy Connects, 200 E. Yavapai Rd., near North Stone Avenue and West Prince Road.

This event and others to follow will connect tenants facing eviction to important resources, Pima County Constable Kristen Randall said. The constable, one of the county law enforcement agents charged with serving eviction notices, expects the number of cases to increase after the expiration of a federal moratorium on evictions set for June 30.

Randall said forecasts of an “eviction crisis” are unfortunately correct and accurate.

The county and the city of Tucson together have granted or have the obligation to disburse $11.6 million in rental and utility assistance as of June 1, said Dan Sullivan, director of Pima County Community and Workforce Development. After that, the county and city still have $23 million in COVID-19 relief to give to families, he said.

Randall said that $23 million is a second round funding out of three. Funding cycle three is still coming, and current funding and additional funding will outlive the June 30 moratorium, she said.

“It’s really, really, really important that people apply for that assistance, know what’s out there and to communicate with their landlord about it,” Randall said. Since the moratorium, Randall has been helping people sign the documents that delay the evictions and get money to the tenants, and the fair will have this kind of assistance, too.

Randall said she expects to have the fair to cut down on the application process for eviction prevention and to push this money out.

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“It’s going to be so much easier because everybody is going to be there,” Randall said about how much easier attending the fair would be than trying to get eviction assistance alone. “It’s not the kind of resource fair where you go there and get fliers. We’re going to actually have case workers on site who can start the process of filling out applications for people in real time.”

The fair will host more than 25 organizations like the Pima County Health Department and the Pima Animal Care Center so they can offer resources like vaccinations and dog and cat food.

Attending organizations will also try to connect residents, including children, to resources like the Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System, the state Medicaid program, and resources to help find work and mental-health support.

Bennito L. Kelty is TucsonSentinel.com’s IDEA reporter, focusing on Inclusion, Diversity, Equity and Access stories, and a Report for America corps member.

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courtesy Constable Kristen Randall

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