Detroit community group lets those facing evictions from pandemic moratorium know there is hope

"It's a situation that's never happened in the history of our country and we can endure this," said Pat Taylor Braxton.
Roughly 10,000 Detroiters may be facing evictions - the moment Michigan's moratorium on evictions ends one minute after midnight - Thursday.

"Due to this pandemic and the fact that people have lost their jobs, have been laid off, have suffered losses in their families through death," Braxton said. "We're trying to reach out to our neighbors to continue to build community."

But the ladies with the O'Hair Park Community Association are working to help their neighbors on the city's northwest side. 

RELATED: Michigan's moratorium on evictions ends tonight

Braxton, the association president, says the area between Seven and Eight mile roads from Southfield to Evergreen, has about 2,300 homes with 41 percent of them renters.

"All of us old ladies are getting together, going out on the streets today," Braxton said. "We want to build hope." 

Working with the United Housing Coalition and the Detroit Eviction Defense Committee, Braxton - and others are planning to pass out flyers to neighbors with legal information and resources to avoid eviction.

"There's nothing to be embarrassed about… We didn't ask for this corona," said Aleta O'Neal. "We've got to work through it and we can."

Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan announced Wednesday that $11.5 million is available to help those facing eviction through the city's Housing and Revitalization Department - and several other organizations. A hotline is available starting Thursday to help Detroit tenants with rent, relocation and legal representation.

"You don't solve this problem by just stopping payments to landlords," Duggan said. "We've got assistance that will help make those payments to landlords that will help you with your arrearages so that you can stay in those houses."
In the program rental assistance payments will be based on the tenants' income and Detroiters should receive a response in 72 hours or less.

Meanwhile Braxton and her - "old ladies" are hoping those in need will reach out to everyone they can. 

"You're not alone," she said. "We're going through this not only in this city, in this country and around the world."