Family speaks out after being evicted from Laveen home amid COVID-19 pandemic

Multiple organizations are concerned that thousands of Arizonans will be homeless once Governor Doug Ducey's eviction moratorium ends.

In March, Gov. Ducey issued an executive order that delays enforcement of eviction orders for renters impacted by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The order applies to renters who are in quarantine due to COVID-19, or are facing economic hardship as a result of the pandemic.

“Nobody should be forced out of their home because of COVID-19,” said Gov. Ducey at the time.

The order is set to expire on July 23, and a number of non-profit organizations in Arizona have asked Gov. Ducey to extend the moratorium.

Some families still evicted despite moratorium

Even with the moratorium, some families are still evicted.

There’s a back and forth between Todd Serna’s family and the property management company about why he was evicted, but regardless of what happened, Serna says losing a home during a pandemic and hot summer is horrible, and he hopes the moratorium is extended.

Serna’s family of four is renting a new home in July, after they were kicked out of their old home in Laveen in June.

"It was quite a tense, stressful situation," said Serna.

Court filings prove the Serna family provided paperwork and medical documents to prove they were impacted by COVID-19. They were unable to pay their rent in March, when Todd lost his job and his wife was furloughed.

Unemployment took months, however, and the promised rental assistance never came. The Sernas made one partial monthly payment.

"Whether it be the unemployment benefits, whether it be the rental assistance, whether it be trying to work with the landlord on payment arrangements, we did everything we could," said Serna.

Judge allowed eviction to proceed

The Sernas were evicted after a judge found the family threatened the attorneys while a constable was at his door. Evictions are still allowed if they aren’t COVID-19 related.

Todd denies he threatened anyone, but now, after the stress of finding a new home, he’s concerned about so many others that may be evicted soon as well.

"I’m very fearful for those that are out there," said Serna. "This is absolutely going to impact homelessness for people that are everyday families."

Many will soon have big rent bill to pay

With the eviction moratorium set to end on July 23, those who didn’t pay rent will soon have to pay the outstanding rent, in full. Thousands may be at risk of losing their homes.

The courts, meanwhile, are preparing for a surge by bringing in more judges.

In statements, members of Gov. Ducey's team governors say they want rental assistance to go out faster.