A Spanish-language eviction hotline is now up and running to help immigrants navigate the state's legal system.
This comes following the expiration of a statewide moratorium on eviction cases. The hotline can help callers determine if they're eligible for protection under the federal CARES Act.
Andrew Willes Garcés is the director of Siembra NC. He says problems have arisen because legal notices are often sent out only in English.
“A whole lot of Latino tenants do not know about small claims court,” says Garcés. “They don't know they have rights, they don't know they have a right to an interpreter, they don't know they can go to court to defend themselves and demand that the landlord provide proof that they're not covered under the CARES Act. It's actually the landlord's responsibility to do that.”
Garces adds that the vast majority of immigrants have not received any federal stimulus money or state aid, and are not eligible for unemployment benefits.
He believes the hotline will give Latino residents access to information that could help them avoid eviction if taken to court.