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St. Louis Judge Extends Moratorium On Evictions Through December To Aid Families

St. Louis Circuit Judge Rex Burlison has suspended eviction proceedings through Dec. 31.

In an order Friday, Burlison extended an earlier moratorium on evictions set to expire that day. He said the extension is necessary to keep people in their homes during the coronavirus pandemic.

The extension also will give city officials more time to process applications for housing assistance, the judge said.

Housing advocates say the judge’s order keeps thousands of families in St. Louis in their homes during a public health crisis.

“This isn’t the whole solution, but it gives these tenants time so if Congress does act they would potentially be able to get that rental assistance and pay back what they owe,” said Glenn Burleigh, a community engagement specialist for Metropolitan St. Louis Equal Housing and Opportunity Council.

St. Louis officials have reviewed more than 8,000 applications for rental and mortgage assistance and distributed more than $2 million of $7.4 million in federal Cares Act funds. City officials say they can now reduce the number of people in the pipeline who need housing aid.

Keeping people in their homes is a priority for the city, and the moratorium will help families struggling to pay rent or mortgage stay in their homes during the holidays, said Jacob Long, a spokesperson for Mayor Lyda Krewson.

Housing rights activists say they want Congress to provide aid for tenants and landlords during the financial crisis.

“Unless there is some kind of further action taken by Congress before the end of the year, then we potentially face a humanitarian crisis as thousands of thousands of people get thrown into the streets in the middle of a pandemic,” Burleigh said.

City officials say they will reassess the housing crisis toward the end of the year.

Follow Andrea on Twitter: @drejournalist

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Andrea Henderson joined St. Louis Public Radio in March 2019, where she covers race, identity and culture as part of the public radio collaborative Sharing America. Andrea comes to St. Louis Public Radio from NPR, where she reported for the race and culture podcast Code Switch and produced pieces for All Things Considered. Andrea’s passion for storytelling began at a weekly newspaper in her hometown of Houston, Texas, where she covered a wide variety of stories including hurricanes, transportation and Barack Obama’s 2009 Presidential Inauguration. Her art appreciation allowed her to cover arts and culture for the Houston African-American business publication, Empower Magazine. She also covered the arts for Syracuse’s Post-Standard and The Post and Courier in Charleston, South Carolina.