DETROIT - Only hours after a statewide moratorium on evictions had been lifted, an extension was granted to residents in the city of Detroit.
On Thursday, Detroit's 36th District Court announced it would be extending the ban on lawfully removing people from their homes, arguing COVID-19 case increases in the state were concerning enough that judges wanted to ensure "no one is left facing homelessness at this critical time."
"Removing people from their homes right now could prove to be devastating, as our efforts to control this virus depend upon the ability of all to self-isolate, practice social distancing, and exercise frequent hand-washing," said Chief Judge William C. McConico.
The moratorium on evictions in Detroit was extended to Aug. 15.
While the state's economy has suffered serious setbacks in response to business and travel restrictions due to the coronavirus outbreak in Michigan, a wave of eviction notices forcing families out of their homes was expected to exasperate the issue for many struggling to stay financially afloat.
A report months ago estimated there was a backlog of 75,000 case filings waiting for district courts once the moratorium was lifted. Around 10,000 of those cases were in Detroit.
In preparation for the wave of filings, both the city and state had set up funds in the tens of millions of dollars to offset some of the missed rent payments. More than $11 million in CARES Act funding from Detroit and the state was intended to help renters.
The state's own plan, dubbed the Eviction Diversion Program offered $50 million in funds for landlords.
“While I am optimistic that the eviction diversion program instituted by Governor Whitmer will be successful and of great benefit to both landlords and tenants, I believe it would be helpful for the Court to give this initiative an initial grace period as those administrative operations begin to fall into place. Since the start of this pandemic, the 36th District Court has worked tirelessly to ensure the safety of all its users and justice system partners. That priority continues along with this extension.”