Zachary family struggles to find housing after eviction

Concerns growing over evictions

ZACHARY, La. (WAFB) - “I would do anything for my kids, but I could not save them from this,” testified Arielle Butler during a house judiciary meeting.

Butler pleaded for state law makers to protect families from what can follow them after an eviction. She was evicted from her home in November after a Zachary city court judge said she did not have the correct paperwork to be protected by a moratorium on evictions.

“It was traumatizing you know; it really, really was. Not only for myself, but for my children, not being able to explain to them at the time about everything being removed from the house within 15 minutes,” said Butler.

Butler says she and her family have struggled to find housing, but she has gotten on her feet financially.

”I tried to go get an apartment, 45 days into the hotel. The first thing that i was told is that if you have an eviction on your record, you can move in, but if you have an eviction that you have to get off our premises within 48-hours,” said Butler.

Butler is not the only one hoping to change how evictions and rent debt lingers on people’s records. State representative Ted James recently filed a resolution urging lawmakers to consider ways to lessen the long-term consequences of evictions.

”What I believe, and what I know is that the debt or this eviction record will follow many people for years and they’ll be blacklisted from jobs, housing and even from some professional licenses in our great state,” said Edward ‘Ted’ James.

Other agencies, like the Louisiana fair housing corporation warned legislators that the impact will also be felt on an economic level if protections are not put into place.

”I’m very worried about the impact it’s going to have on the state’s economy if you’re going to have hundreds of thousands of families who can’t find work and can’t find homes because these records are following them around for years into the future,” said Maxwell Ciardullo.

For those like Arielle, she is hopeful the decision come down to keeping families safe.

”There needs to be better understanding after for these individuals that are going to be looking for a home, looking for places after this pandemic to have relief to know that people care. That’s the goal, that’s the goal for today,” Butler said.

The resolution calls for the house to have proposals on eviction and debt rent safeguards by March.

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