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EHOC

"It makes me feel really alone in this world," said Christine Rudolph, a few days after being evicted from her home in Jefferson City. Missouri tenants facing eviction are unsure how to follow a stay-at-home order when they no longer have a home to go to.
David Kovaluk | St. Louis Public Radio

In March, when the pandemic shut down businesses across St. Louis, the city announced a moratorium on evictions. Officials didn’t want to see people displaced at a time when sheltering was required.

That moratorium has ended, but since the courts are still shut down, no eviction proceedings are taking place. (They were set to open June 22; however, that same day, they were forced to close again due to an employee testing positive for COVID-19.)

EHOC attorney Kalila Jackson joined Monday's talk show to discuss tenant rights in Missouri.
Lara Hamdan | St. Louis Public Radio

Bad living conditions are stressful enough. But what about landlords that are neglecting their properties and abusing the rights of the tenants? 

On Monday’s St. Louis on the Air, Kalila Jackson joined us to discuss how tenants can exercise their rights without escalating the situation. She’s a staff attorney at the Metropolitan St. Louis Equal Housing and Opportunity Council, better known as EHOC. Also joining the conversation was Sunni Hutton, a volunteer grassroots organizer with Homes for All St. Louis.

Lawyers Kalilah Jackson and Sandra Park led a discussion in Maplewood informing residents of the city's nuisance ordinance.
Chad Davis | St. Louis Public Radio

Maplewood residents, equal-housing advocates and lawyers participated in a community discussion Wednesday about Maplewood’s controversial public-nuisance ordinance.

The event was organized by the Metropolitan St. Louis Equal Housing and Opportunity Council (EHOC) and the ACLU of Missouri to inform Maplewood residents of their legal rights and encourage residents to urge state and local lawmakers to change nuisance laws. 

Maplewood city attorney Craig Biesterfeld and City Manager Marty Corcoran look through the city code during a meeting with a reporter at Maplewood City Hall.
Jenny Simeone-Cases | St. Louis Public Radio

Maplewood’s thriving business district and respected schools are attractive to potential residents. But, aspiring residents must first apply and be approved for an occupancy permit. Even after such a permit is granted, the city’s public nuisance ordinance allows it to be revoked under certain conditions.

The ACLU of Missouri and the St. Louis Equal Housing and Opportunity Council on Wednesday are co-hosting what they bill as a “community discussion” about Maplewood's public nuisance ordinance. The event is intended to help residents understand the ordinance and their rights when it comes to enforcement.

A portrait of Will Jordan, the executive director of the Metropolitan St. Louis Equal Housing Opportunity Council. February 2016.
File Photo | Camille Phillips | St. Louis Public Radio

Missouri’s ability to investigate housing discrimination and enforce fair housing laws in rural areas could be at risk.

Maplewood city attorney Craig Biesterfeld and City Manager Marty Corcoran look through the city code during a meeting with a reporter at Maplewood City Hall.
Jenny Simeone-Cases | St. Louis Public Radio

Nuisance ordinances have been commonplace across the U.S. for at least a century. They are used to crack down on everything from overgrown grass to large-scale drug dealing. In the city of Maplewood, that extends to excessive calls to the police.

Maplewood's nuisance ordinance, last updated in October 2006, is the subject of two lawsuits, which allege the policy and its enforcement are discriminatory. How the city handles nuisance complaints is hailed by some as a way to keep the community safe, and reviled by others who believe it’s a way to regulate residents’ behavior and push out people of color, people with disabilities and survivors of domestic violence.