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Through this series, we examine the disproportionate financial toll of COVID-19 on Black and Latino communities, including how it has affected individuals, families and businesses.

Latin American Coalition Launches Program To Provide Free Legal Support To Those Facing Evictions

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North Carolina’s eviction moratorium is soon to expire on March 31 and the Latin American Coalition says the organization has been receiving an influx of calls from people asking for support.

The Coalition’s Executive Director, Jose Hernandez-Paris, said despite the moratorium, some landlords are not waiting to evict tenants.

“In principle, the moratorium sounds good,” Hernandez-Paris said. “But in reality, there are many individuals who are facing evictions.”

In North Carolina, around 485,000 adults living in rental housing report not being caught up on rent, according to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.

Hernandez-Paris said it was this uptick in calls that led the Coalition to create a new partnership providing free legal support to people who are living below the federal poverty line and are facing evictions.

“The number of calls that we’re receiving and the fear of individuals when they contact us through our helpline and the concerns about evictions,” Hernandez-Paris said.

Under the collaboration, the Coalition will work with Queen City Community Law, a new law firm in Charlotte.

The firm’s principal attorney Ismaail Qaiyim used to be the Coalition’s housing and community development coordinator. He said he hopes this partnership will help support the communities most affected by the pandemic.

“When it comes to having access to an attorney, something as simple as having someone look at a contract or look at a lease, or potentially write a letter on behalf of a client, or just hold someone’s hand and give someone advice during a difficult time can really go a long way,” Qaiyim said.

A grant from the Mecklenburg County Bar Foundation is helping fund the program.

Anyone living at 200% of the poverty line, which is $25,000 for a single person, can get the free help as long as they call the Coalition for a referral.

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