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Homeless shelters in Cleveland scramble to find space for renters facing eviction

An estimated 3,000 tenants could soon be evicted
eviction notice
Posted at 2:56 PM, Sep 03, 2021
and last updated 2021-09-03 17:59:43-04

CLEVELAND — Right now, there's a rush to get a roof over the heads of every person who needs one. With the end of the eviction moratorium, homeless shelters in Cleveland are bracing for a big increase in requests.

According to the Census Bureau, more than 130,000 renters in Ohio are facing eviction in the next two months. Many of them are not waiting for that legal process to play out.

The losses for Steve Fletcher cut deep.

"It's like somebody broke your heart," said 61-year-old Fletcher, who is currently living at The City Mission. "There's a lot of other guys like me that are here."

This summer, Fletcher lost his job, car, and was evicted from his home.

"It just feels overwhelming. Feel hopeless and helpless," said Fletcher.

With the end of the eviction moratorium, an estimated 3,000 people in Cleveland could be facing the same heartbreaking fate.

“We're seeing more women, especially with children, saying, 'I need a place to stay because I'm going to be getting evicted,'" said Linda Uvegas, CEO of The City Mission. She said many of those moms are moving out before the process plays out in court.

"If you have an eviction on your record, it'll make it very difficult for that family to find housing," said Uvegas.

Down the street, the number of requests coming into the Haven Home are quickly on the rise.

"We're the first stop where people come when they're either getting evicted or about to be evicted or any type of family homelessness," said Cynthia Rios, the executive director at Haven Home.

With the rooms there already at max capacity, the scramble to secure additional space is on.

"We can't squeeze people in an extra space like we may have done short-term in the past because it's just not safe for them now," said Rios.

She is pleading with local landlords to partner with EDEN. The non-profit helps provide safe, decent affordable housing in Cuyahoga County.

"If the water is running, the lights turn on, it's safe. It doesn't take long to get approved. And they could really be a benefit to a young family right now," said Rios.

Back at The City Mission, they're fully staffed and are expecting a huge influx in calls for help.

"Eviction is devastating for a family. That pushes that family deeper into poverty," said Uvegas.

As he inches closer to getting a new place to call home, Fletcher is encouraging those who may soon be in his shoes to ask for help when all might seem lost.

"I just was so overwhelmed by what happened to me. That feeling of being overwhelmed or hopeless or helpless will go away. Reaching out to people, making that call, it changed my life,” said Fletcher.