Eviction diversion a worthy program

The economic meltdown caused by the coronavirus pandemic threw a lot of people into situations in which they never expected to find themselves.

For many people, that meant the risk of losing their homes.

However, a state program overseen regionally by the Northeast Michigan Community Service Agency has already helped at least 153 people stay in 42 households.

The program, through which NEMCSA helps people pay off past-due rent, requires multiple layers of ownership in the process. Renters must pay what they can. Landlords must be willing to forgive some of the rent debt.

Still, the program provides much-needed relief in this time of much uncertainty. No one needs to add the stress of finding a place to live — or homelessness, for those unable to find such a place or those to whom no one will rent because they have an eviction on their record — to the unprecedented stress of a pandemic.

The program is good all around.

Landlords get paid at least some of what they’re owed and get to avoid to court costs associated with eviction. Tenants get to stay home.

Funding for the program is currently set to expire on Dec. 31.

If the pandemic is still raging at that time — as many health experts expect it to be — we hope the state finds a way to continue it.



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