HOUSTON - Thousands of more Houston area families are expected to face eviction soon as the CDC moratorium ends Saturday and won't be extended again.
Despite moratoriums, nearly 34,000 eviction cases have been filed in Harris County since the pandemic began, according to January Advisors.
Now that the CDC moratorium is ending, many of the cases on pause will move forward, plus a wave of new evictions is expected.
Evictions will devastate families, especially children just as they're going back to school.
"It could completely disrupt their home life altogether. They might be living in a car or a van or with family members," said Ally Harris with advocacy group Texas Housers.
Harris says the CDC moratorium's success was mixed. She says it did stop some landlords from taking tenants to eviction court. But for those in Harris County courts, only 15% of renters actually filed the document.
"The protection not being automatic for a tenant if they had COVID or COVID-related job loss was a huge loss for the success of the CDC moratorium," Harris said.
But new help is available. The Texas Supreme Court has extended the Texas Eviction Diversion Program through September. It provides up to 15 months of rent and utility assistance if both tenants and landlords agree to the terms of the program.
Plus the Texas Supreme Court ordered that renters can have their court dates pushed back 60 additional days if they show the court they have applied and are waiting for rental assistance.
"They just have to mention that in their court case. It's really helpful to bring proof though, because the eviction court judge may ask for proof," explained Harris.
The Consumer Financial Protection Board has launched a new online tool called the Rental Assistance Finder, where renters can apply for rental assistance in their area that is still available.
"It can help keep families in their homes, and it can help landlords who depend on the rental income oftentimes to pay their own mortgages," said Per Olstad with the CFPB.
And the Harris County Recovery Relief fund is now taking applications until August 11. It will give 20,000 households $1500 each for emergency expenses.
"Housing assistance, whether it's mortgage or rent, it's utility assistance, maybe transportation, maybe it's a car payment," said Bart Ferrell with Catholic Charities, which is helping to administer the program.
The Houston-Harris County Emergency Rental Assistance Program, and Texas Rent Relief also still have funds available.