Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, countless families have lost income, but the eviction moratorium has helped many remain in their homes even if they can’t make their rent payments. What the national order hasn’t protected families from, however, is unscrupulous property management. Brylee Gnant, a case manager at Family Promise of Tualatin Valley in Tualatin, OR, has seen how a seemingly stable living situation can turn on a dime. She recently worked with 20 families in a manufactured home park who had received eviction notices from their landlord.
It was the local school district that first alerted Family Promise to the situation. The district was alarmed to learn that a number of students and their families were facing eviction despite the moratorium. Gnant’s passion for advocacy work and past experience at a law firm came in handy as she tackled the case, and she quickly learned most of the evictions were illegal.
She collaborated with county commissioners and staff, Legal Aid, and the Oregon Law Center to discuss options for the families and put pressure on the park owners to retract the illegal notices. She also brought the group together to connect with each family to explain their rights and options.
“It all happened really quickly,” Brylee says. “In about two weeks, the eviction notices were overturned.”
For one family whose eviction was indisputable, Family Promise helped them find new housing and assisted with short-term rental assistance, and they continue to provide case management. The remaining families in the mobile home park are now reassured that their homes are secure.
“Brylee orchestrated social justice with compassion as she dove into a highly charged situation with critical consequences for these families,” says Rose Money, Family Promise of Tualatin Valley’s executive director.
The school district also appreciated Family Promise’s expertise, noting that they reached out to Family Promise of Tualatin Valley due to the organization’s reputation in the community. District employee Shana Beckman says of Family Promise, “[We knew] that they had the chops to solve this problem.”