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As eviction hearings resume, the Ohio city has turned its empty convention hall into a one-stop shop for tenants in trouble. There are plenty to go around.
Part of the Greater Columbus Convention Center is now dedicated to hearing 100 eviction cases per day.
Since September, Jamanda Colbert has lived with her wife and two-year-old daughter in a small apartment complex on Columbus, Ohio’s East Side. The building has its downsides: The apartment is prone to flooding, she says, and the landlord is hard to pin down. Still, the Colberts were settled, with another child on the way. So when Jamanda’s wife, Tera, who is the sole breadwinner for the family, lost her job in February over coronavirus fears, the couple sought to communicate their situation to the landlord right away. The goal was to be conscientious tenants as they coped with what was already taking shape as an unprecedented national crisis.
It didn’t work. The leasing manager at Mason Run Apartments and Ranch-Style Homes served the Colbert family with an eviction notice on May 5. And Jamanda Colbert was summoned to appear for the eviction hearing on June 16 — court, in this case, being the Greater Columbus Convention Center, where the Franklin County Municipal Court has set up shop through at least August.