HOUSTON - The state is providing $171 million of rental assistance in a new Texas Eviction Diversion Program to keep families in their homes. Plus a new legal aid online resource is available for families facing eviction proceedings.
Despite the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention moratorium on evictions that took effect September 6, many eviction cases are still moving through the courts.
Since that date, January Advisors says 2,815 eviction cases have been filed in Harris County courts.
"I'm scared, because there's no help. There's nobody. No one's listening. No one cares. I see them putting people's stuff outside. I wonder if I'm next," said Matthew Carter.
Carter says he and his wife Carolyn and two-day-old baby Makeil have received a Notice to Vacate after falling about two months behind on rent.
"I picked him up two days ago from the hospital, knowing we're not stable," said Carter of his new baby.
Carter says he lost his job when he contracted COVID-19 earlier this year. Behind on bills, he says his car has been repossessed with their baby seat inside.
"I have never been too scared of any challenge, but this challenge has me nervous. Very nervous. Scared," said Carter.
Stop TX Eviction is a new online, step-by-step guide from Texas' legal aid providers to help tenants understand their legal rights, talk to lawyers, and apply for legal and rental assistance.
"We walk people through the steps, the notice to vacate they'll receive, a tenant declaration they can sign under the new CDC order if they quality," said Marissa Latta, an attorney with Texas RioGrande Legal Aid.
The site also has information on $171 million in rental assistance available through the new Texas Eviction Diversion Program the state launched October 12.
"It can provide up to six months of rental assistance, which includes up to five months if the tenant is behind," explained Latta. "If that works out, the case is dismissed. It will also remain confidential so people cannot see that case was filed."
The program is available in 19 counties, including Harris, Montgomery, and Brazos Counties and rolls out statewide in November to try to help families whose walls seem to be crashing down around them.
"It hurts me to see her that way. I try to get up and try to struggle for them as much as I can to keep a roof over our head," said Carter.