ST. LOUIS ( -- A large number of evictions in St. Louis City that have been put on hold due to the coronavirus pandemic are expected to be served soon and rental assistance programs will be swamped.

Opal Jones, President and CEO of Doorways, is preparing to help hundreds, possibly thousands who fear evictions as local court systems begin to open up.

Doorways is nonprofit providing rental assistance to individuals living with HIV or AIDS.

“We’re hearing all kinds of stories, the calls are all over the place, they’re fast they’re furious, we’re doing the best we can to help as many people as we can” said Jones.

Jones said their call volume has increased by 50 percent from people who’ve lost their jobs or been unable to work because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“More than a quarter of those calls are from people who’ve never asked us for assistance before. These were people who’ve always worked, always maintained their standard of living and now they just don’t know what to do,” Jones said.

St. Louis City Sheriff Vernon Betts said his deputies typically do 40 evictions a week, but because of the shutdown they’ve had to put 150 evictions on hold.

“I’ve had hundreds of landlords calling, we’re expecting an avalanche of folks coming down wanting to evict,” said Sheriff Betts.

He said his office is working to prepare for the large number of eviction requests headed his way.

“It’s kind of heart wrenching, but because of the law we have to carry out the eviction,” Betts said. 

St. Louis City said they’re expanding their eviction team to keep up with the increased evictions.

Nonprofits rely heavily on donations to help people in these situations.

For more information Doorways, visit here.

And for a list of rental assistance programs in St. Louis, click here.

Copyright 2020 KMOV (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved

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