Allegheny County requests another extension for local eviction moratorium | News | Pittsburgh | Pittsburgh City Paper

Allegheny County requests another extension for local eviction moratorium

click to enlarge Allegheny County requests another extension for local eviction moratorium
CP photo: Ryan Deto
The Allegheny County Courthouse in Downtown Pittsburgh
With the county’s eviction moratorium set to expire on Oct. 31, Allegheny County President Judge Kim Clark requested on Oct. 29 that the Pennsylvania Supreme Court extend the eviction protection measures remain until the end of November.

In Judge Clark’s request, she says the pandemic resulted in an unprecedented number of potential evictions, and extended the moratorium allows sufficient time for applications to receive emergency rental assistance. If approved, Allegheny County’s eviction moratorium expiration would be set to expire on Nov. 30.

According to county data, 19,427 households have applied for rental assistance during the pandemic, and 11,749 are still awaiting approval and payment as of Oct. 29. Over $47 million of the Emergency Rental Assistance Program has gone towards households rent and utility. According to Abby Rae LaCombe of Rent Help PGH told City Paper in August, the county received $73 million in total to assist renters. Judge Clark did not respond when asked for a comment for this story.

The request for another extension comes after over 65 organizations and elected leaders call for Allegheny County’s eviction moratorium extension. On Oct. 27, advocates sent an open letter to Clark, asking for her help to extend the moratorium.

Elected officials, all Democrats, calling for the extension include state Sen. Lindsey Williams, state Reps. Ed Gainey, Sara Innamorato, Summer Lee, Allegheny County Councilors Olivia Bennett and Bethany Hallam, Pittsburgh City Councilors Erika Strassburger and Deb Gross.

“Applying for housing aid and rental relief is a long and arduous process,” said Gross in a Oct. 27 press release. “It’s not a process that suddenly stops on October 31st.”

For those facing eviction complaints and other legal issues, University of Pittsburgh’s chapter Black Law Students Association is hosting their Derrick Bell Community Legal Clinic on Nov. 3 at the Hill District Community Engagement Center. BLSA and the Allegheny County Bar Association will prove legal on landlord and tenant issues, criminal record expungements, child custody, etc. The clinic prefers appointments to make but also accepts walk-ins.

The annual legal clinic is named after Dr. Derrick Bell, a graduate of the University of Pittsburgh School of Law and a civil rights lawyer. Dr. Bell helped establish the scholarship on the intersection of race and justice.