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Some Idaho renters now facing eviction

Eviction hearings are resuming and that causing additional stress for some renters.

BOISE, Idaho — It's the first of the month and that means rent is due for a lot of Idahoans.

But there's a double whammy for some renters.

Beginning this week, eviction hearings are resuming.

"I'm stressed because I have to pay a late fee now because I haven't gotten my stimulus yet because I don't know when it's going to be delivered," Summer Johnson said.

Summer Johnson is stressed.  She, like so many others, are concerned about paying rent.

"And I know that I'm not alone, as I said a lot of people are like 'please be the voice because we're all very frustrated,'" Johnson said.

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Ali Rabe is the executive director of Jesse Tree, a nonprofit that provides support to people at risk of eviction.

"How many calls are you getting for help?" asked KTVB.

"So we were in a housing crisis before all this happened and so we were hearing from about five to 10 new families per day.  And now we're hearing from around 20 to 30 new families per day who need rental assistance," Rabe said. "Because they've lost their job, used up their savings, and now they're in a position where they can't pay their rent."

The Idaho Supreme Court put a hold on eviction hearings, on all court hearings, after Gov. Brad Little first issued the stay-at-home order on March 25, but now those hearings are resuming, leaving some renters facing an even bigger threat.

“For this week alone there are 32 hearings in Ada County that we know of and five in Canyon County last time we checked," Rabe said.

Under Idaho law, property managers and landlords could begin the eviction process if a renter is just three days late on rent.

"They'll financially never recover from that, they're going to have to have eviction on their record, their credit goes down, they have no money.  It's just a long-term situation more than short term right now," Johnson said.

"So what do you tell people?" asked KTVB. 

"We're trying to support as many people as possible," Rabe said. "We do have rental assistance available as well as supportive services from our social workers.  And so we're trying to get the word out in the community that Jesse Tree has those resources available, so they should call our housing crisis line and we can give them some advice," Rabe said.

"So you would just like to see more understanding when it comes to property managers and landlords?" asked KTVB.

"Absolutely, understand.  Put themselves in our shoes and what it feels like," Johnson said.

Last month, Washington's governor issued a temporary statewide moratorium on evictions and freezes on rent hikes.

The city of Boise, Ada County, Jesse Tree and several other nonprofits have all encouraged Gov. Little to do the same.

Jesse Tree says they haven't heard back from the governor's office. KTVB also reached out, but we haven't heard back either.

In the meantime, here's what you can do, if you are struggling to pay rent.

Jesse Tree says to communicate with your landlord.

Be as open as you can about your finances and what's possible for you.

Try to set up a payment plan ahead of time.

Jesse Tree's Housing Crisis Hotline is also available at 208-383-9486, Monday-Friday from 9 a.m. - 5 p.m. 

Summer was able to set up a payment plan with her property manager, who said they're trying to be as accommodating as possible with all their tenants.

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