ST. LOUIS (KMOV.com) - Now that courts are back in session, deputies in the St. Louis City Sheriff’s Office are gearing up to carry out evictions after a three-month hiatus.
“Under court order we have to at this point,” said St. Louis Sheriff Vernon Betts.
Evictions were put on pause after the courts suspended proceedings due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Betts says his deputies typically carry out 40 evictions a week, but because of COVID-19, they’ve had to put 150 evictions on hold.
“Landlords have financial responsibilities and if they’re not collecting any rent, then they can’t take care of their financial responsibilities, then of course, you've got the tenant that’s been out of work. Where do they get the money to pay?” Betts said.
Opal Jones, the president of Doorways, a non-profit that helps provide rental assistance to individuals, told News 4 their organization is helping hundreds, possibly thousands who fear evictions.
“The calls are all over the place, they’re fast, they’re furious,” said Jones.
Betts says in recent weeks, the number of evictions needed have grown to 300.
In order to get that number down, his office has created eight, two man teams.
“Anybody that’s being evicted tomorrow, it’s not like today we post it, and tomorrow we’re putting you out of your home, these people have had notice,” Betts said.
Betts says they plan to formally start with seven evictions Tuesday, and will increase the number of evictions throughout the month.
“Once the courts get back to full staff, we expect later in the month to have a lot of evictions,” Betts said.
The sheriff’s office says they are working with the court system to help people impacted by COVID-19 with rental assistance.
Click here for rental assistance programs in St. Louis.