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Pima County says there is an eviction problem

TUCSON – Pima County officials say there is an eviction problem.

They say there are many factors, but they say wages are too low and there is not enough affordable housing in Pima County.

“A young woman has two children,” said Bonnie Bazata, Ending Poverty Now Program Manager. “She was in a domestic violence situation, so she had to move to a shelter for her own safety. She has been in a shelter, so through that process, she lost her apartment and lost a lot of things in her apartment.”

Bazata says she has heard many stories like this.

Folks who study eviction say it can happen to anyone and even middle-class families.

“Really once you have that one accident or your car breaks down or you lose your job or you miss work for a couple weeks… The one missed paycheck can really turn into an eviction and then once an eviction begins, it happens so quickly,” said Stacy Butler, Director of Innovation for Justice at the UA James E. Rogers College of Law. “From the day you miss your payment, you could be homeless 19 days later.”

Last year in Pima County, more than 13,000 evictions were filed in court. There are many more that do not make it through the legal process.

“People watching this may think it’s not going to happen to them, but at our center, we see people who are lawyers, who are middle-class,” said Dan Sullivan, Program Manager for the Sullivan Jackson Employment Center. “Forty-three percent of Americans don’t have the adequate resources for an emergency.”

Sullivan says eviction has a lasting impact because it can make it difficult to find a new place down the road, it can affect a person’s credit, and can negatively impact a person’s health.

“It has such a ripple effect across all aspects of their life,” Sullivan said. “Imagine having to study while you’re in an emergency shelter?”

The county is hosting a panel discussion for anyone who is interested in learning more about evictions and how the county is tackling the problem.

It is Thursday night from 6-8 p.m. at the Joel D. Valdez Main Library at 101 N. Stone Ave. All are welcome and it is a free event.

Find more details HERE.

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Associated Press

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