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Christian Center of Park City Steps Up as Parkites Could Face Mass Evictions

The Park City Christian Center stays busy with its efforts to help locals impacted by COVID and the economic slowdown. 


But Director Rob Harter says that due to a federal timeline running out, many local tenants may be facing eviction.


Harter told KPCW that the Christian Center is in the third round of its Basic Needs Assistance Program. They have dispensed over $700,000, mostly for rent assistance, and have aided over 700 families.


But he said an immediate concern is that the federal CARES Act moratorium on evictions expired in late July, and Congress hasn’t passed a plan to deal with it.


“We’ve been working with landlords and apartment managers here locally to try to come up with a plan to prevent anyone from being evicted and making sure we know exactly who is at risk of eviction,” Harter said. “The good news is some landlords have done really good in terms of responding and really wanting to help their tenants and help the clients and work with us and (Jewish Family Service) and the city. Then there have been some other landlords that have not worked so well with us. In fact, we’ve gotten some reports from various tenants from their landlords that they will be moving forward with evictions if people cannot pay.”


Harter said that, at the same time, he knows that landlords have their bills to pay also.


“We’ve been negotiating with them,” Harter said. “We also have reached out to them and said, “Would you be willing to give like a 15 percent break or some kind of percentage break towards the rent of those who are struggling because of the COVID-19 response. And the good news is a lot of the landlords have. In fact, some have given cash gifts to this whole Basic Needs Assistance Program.”


He said he doesn’t know just how many households will be facing eviction, but the number could grow this month and into September.


Relatedly, he said that the need for mental health counseling has become more urgent.


“I think it’s a combination of stress, anxiety, depression, isolation—and it’s turned into some real serious issues of people that were just thinking about suicide,” he said. “If you talk to our counselors, every week there is a crisis or two that comes through the Counseling Center, of just people that—they’re kind of at their wits’ end and not sure what to do, maybe have already had a plan to commit suicide, or are talking about it.”


He added that the Christian Center has seen an 85% increase in people who want counseling but now have difficulty paying for it. 


He invited those who need help to contact the center and ask for Heather Ledbetter, who runs its counseling administration.


Finally, he said that the center is offering its Back To School Basics program for the 9th year to help provide clothes and supplies for the coming school year. Information about the program is available at the Christian Center’s website.

Known for getting all the facts right, as well as his distinctive sign-off, Rick covers Summit County meetings and issues. KPCW snagged him from The Park Record in the '80s, and he's been on air and covering the entire county ever since. He produces the Week In Review podcast, as well a heads the Friday Film Review team.
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