Monday, August 10, 2020

State Rep. Lowe announces coalition of leaders to help Oklahomans facing eviction

Lowe Announces Coalition of Community Leaders to Help Oklahomans Facing Eviction

OKLAHOMA CITY – State Rep. Jason Lowe, D-Oklahoma City, today addressed the looming spike in evictions throughout the state and announced a coalition of community leaders that will be providing support to those facing eviction.

“Thousands of Oklahomans, devastated by job loss and decreased income due to COVID-19, are facing eviction next month now that the federal eviction moratorium has expired,” Lowe said. “It is imperative that the public knows their rights as tenants, as well as the community services available to them in order to prevent a homelessness crisis.”   

Lowe was joined by several community members representing organizations with resources to help Oklahomans facing evictions.

“Tulsa and Oklahoma City are Top 20 nationally for eviction rates and that was before COVID,” said Michael Figgins, the executive director of Legal Aid Services of Oklahoma. “When you add illegal lockout evictions, studies are showing that we are looking at more than 130,000 potential evictions.”

The resources available by the providers present ranged from legal representation, back rent, to occupational retraining videos.

“We have eviction attorneys at the courthouse every time there is an eviction docket,” said  Jennifer Montagna, the lead eviction attorney at Legal Aid Services of Oklahoma. “If you are facing eviction and you receive a summons or prior to the court action a notice regarding being late on your rent, you should call Legal Aid immediately.”

While the purpose of the press conference was to bring attention to the upcoming eviction crisis Oklahoma faces, Lowe did offer some direct legal advice. 

“No matter what, the thing you cannot do if you get an eviction notice is ignore it,” Lowe said. “As an attorney, I see people in courthouses every day that are scared and feel hopeless because there is nobody there advocating for them. We want everyone to know that you don’t have to face eviction alone. The people here today and more importantly the organizations behind them are here to help and be your advocate.”

Speaking at the conference today: Michael Figgins - Executive Director of Legal Aid Services of Oklahoma, Jennifer Montagna -  Lead Eviction Attorney at Legal Aid Services of Oklahoma, Ginny Carl – Executive Director of Community Cares Partners and Founder and CEO of Giving Well LLC, Brian Wilkerson – Director of Litigation and Legal Services at Oklahoma Disability Law Center, Inc., Marilyn Long – Founder and Executive Director at North East Resource Center, Inc.


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