“It is my hope to beat the clock of July 1st and have this up and running. If I can’t, then I’m absolutely open to doing what some other folks have done via executive order…“
The courts are due to take up eviction proceedings against renters who have fallen behind on rent due to the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent economic downturn starting on July 1st. Yesterday, protesters with Tenant Network Rhode Island protested outside the Garrahy Judicial Complex in Providence to call once again for Rhode Island Governor Gina Raimondo to issue an executive order banning evictions. In the past, Governor Raimondo has declined such an executive order, but at Monday’s press conference, for the first time, she indicated that such an executive order is a possibility.
“I haven’t ruled that out, but I’m trying to work on what I think is more sustainable solution, which is some kind of a mediation process,” said Governor Raimondo. “We’re working really hard on that this week with United Way, with the courts. It requires us to get a system where we have mediators, which will be available at no cost and also legal representation for every tenant.
“It is my hope to beat the clock of July 1st and have this up and running. If I can’t, then I’m absolutely open to doing what some other folks have done via executive order. I’m open to using some relief funds to do the mediated process because sadly, this crisis financially, isn’t going to be over in the month of July.
“It’s a complicated thing it’s weighing on me,” said the Governor.
The Governor's willingness to explore an eviction moratorium is the direct result of organizing and direct action led by @tenantnetworkri, showing up for all RI tenants! Without organized action, the Governor's playbook is neoliberalism. https://t.co/ohgZjFq0Nt— DARE Tenant Homeowners Association (@renterpowerpvd) June 23, 2020
The looming eviction crisis weighs heavily on housing and homelessness advocates. Though the state has made some assistance available, “it has not been enough to meet the need and the program has been difficult to administer,” says HomesRI, a group that advocates for affordable housing.
The Eviction Lab out of Princeton has rated Rhode Island’s response to the looming eviction crisis at .38 out of 5 stars.