Whitmer suspends evictions until July 15, creates rent assistance program

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    Temporary suspensions on evictions during the COVID-19 pandemic will remain in place until July 15, according to a Friday executive order from Gov. Gretchen Whitmer.

    The order and its predecessors prohibit removals of tenants or mobile home owners during the pandemic because displacing them could exacerbate COVID-19 health threats, per the governor. 

    Whitmer’s order also creates a program that shows renters affected by the pandemic how to obtain rental assistance or develop payment plans to stave off evictions. Starting July 16, tenants can access help under the Eviction Diversion Program.

    The program allocates $50 million — in the form of lump sum payments — to landlords, who in exchange would let tenants remain in their homes. Landlords who volunteer for the program would also be expected to forgive late fees by 10% of the amount due. 

    It’s May 1 and thousands can’t pay their rent. Here’s what some Michiganders are doing.

    “No Michigander should have to worry about losing their home during a global health pandemic and, at the same time, landlords and management companies need rent from their tenants to sustain their businesses,” Whitmer said in a news release. “This innovative new program will save lives, save money, and save businesses by keeping families in their homes and providing immediate financial relief to landlords for back rent they’re due.”

    Tenants with rent not entirely covered by the program will be offered the payment plans. 

    Whitmer created the program after the approval of S.B. 690, which unanimously passed in the Michigan House and Senate on June 17. That legislation set aside $60 million in COVID-19 relief funds for Michigan’s Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity (LEO) to use in creating a state rental assistance program after the stay on evictions ends.

    C.J. Moore
    C.J. Moore covers the environment and the Capitol. She previously worked at NASA’s Glenn Research Center in Cleveland as a public affairs staff science writer. She also previously covered crop sustainability and coal pollution issues for Great Lakes Echo. In addition, she served as editor in chief at The State News and covered its academics and research beat. She studies environment journalism and film at Michigan State University.