Eviction filings surge in big Arizona county home to Phoenix

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- In this Oct. 14, 2020, file photo, housing activists erect a sign in Swampscott, Mass. (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer, File)

Eviction filings in Arizona’s largest county have surged higher than at any time in the last 13 years.

Data released Thursday by the Maricopa County Justice Court shows that the July filing figure of 6,405 is higher than any month since October 2008, when the number hit 6,975.

It’s also the second month in a row that the court that includes Phoenix metro has seen a monthly filing total higher than any seen in 2019 before the coronavirus pandemic.

Not all eviction filings result in lockouts by landlords, which can be forestalled with last-minute payments with rental assistance or court agreements.

Maricopa County had among the highest levels of evictions in the United States before state and federal eviction moratoriums slowed lockouts during the pandemic. Those eviction bans have long since ended.

The White House is calling on states to find ways to prevent evictions as federal emergency rental assistance funds made available during the pandemic start to wind down.

New Mexico was lauded this week during a White House summit for its successful programs to rein in evictions, said the state’s Supreme Court Chief Justice C. Shannon Bacon.

Bacon credited a court-based eviction prevention program that was phased in this year to help tenants and landlords.

New Mexico has awarded over $148 million for rent, utilities, emergency housing, and moving costs to help more than 44,000 households, the court’s administrative office said Thursday.