Ottawa County Housing Commission, 58th District Court Urging Lawmakers to Extend Eviction Prevention Program

Ottawa Update

December 17, 2020

Housing Commission, 58th District Court urge lawmakers
to extend Eviction Prevention Program funding deadline

WEST OLIVE — Housing impacts nearly all aspects of a family’s wellbeing. Housing stability has direct correlations with job retention, physical and mental health, and even children’s academic success in schools. A stable roof over one’s head offers both assurance and peace of mind. Yet for many the COVID-19 pandemic has uprooted their lives, as layoffs and bills gone unpaid have forced them to leave their homes. These tragic circumstances have prompted the Ottawa County Housing Commission and the Ottawa County 58th District Court to advocate for extending rental assistance to the region’s most vulnerable residents.

Person opening door centered

To reduce the potential nationwide surge in evictions at the start of the pandemic, Congress passed the CARES Act which established Coronavirus Relief Funds (CRF) for eviction prevention. Administered by MSHDA, these funds are given to local housing nonprofits such as Good Samaritan Ministries to assist households in need. This year, Good Samaritan Ministries has helped keep more than 220 families in their homes and is in the process of assisting 226 additional households. Although funding exists to help these residents, the deadline for using these funds is Dec. 30. With Good Samaritan Ministries working through a backlog of applications, assistance will be shut off if this funding deadline is not extended.

In efforts to stave off a raft of evictions in 2021, the Ottawa County Housing Commission along with the Ottawa County 58th District Court has submitted a letter to state and federal legislators urging them to extend the deadline for incurring expenses under the CARES Act. Without this extension, evictions will likely be widespread and especially damaging next year, further upending the lives of Ottawa County residents during a pandemic.

Whether it’s a single mother living in a motel with her young daughter, the former restaurant worker who delivers groceries by day and sleeps in his car by night, or the dual-income couple who lost both jobs and are now struggling to stretch $700 per month – the prospects of homelessness are both bleak and traumatic, especially for young children. For many, the COVID-19 pandemic has represented more than a public health crisis, it’s threatened their very foundation of stable housing.

With advocacy being a key goal outlined in the Housing Commission’s Strategic Plan, highlighting current housing challenges and requesting support from elected officials is vital in helping Ottawa County residents in this time of desperation.

To learn more about the Ottawa County Housing Commission’s efforts to further housing initiatives for people of all ages and incomes, visit the Commission’s webpage at