Judge steps in to help Houstonians facing eviction by donating $5K

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- When you're losing your home, even a little help can make a big difference. This is something Lincoln Goodwin would know. As Justice of the Peace, Goodwin presides over eviction cases.

"They're actually heart-wrenching and each one I take seriously, absolutely seriously," Judge Goodwin said. "The judge cannot take a side in any particular case, but then again, that doesn't mean we leave our community behind."

That's why Judge Goodwin and his family donated $5,000 to a rental assistance program at Fallbrook Church. The idea is to help people like Brooke Newsome and her triplets.

"My faith was put to the test when it was like, 'Okay, it's time to get a new job in the middle of a pandemic,'" said Newsome, who became a single mother last year. "Anything and everything that could happen this year happened."

SEE ALSO: Texas extends rental assistance program designed to avoid evictions until March

After Newsome was late paying rent back in September, she and her kids were forced to move out and find a new home. Harris County landlords are now evicting tenants every day, after a short moratorium early in the pandemic.

The City of Houston has helped by giving out $1,200 stimulus checks to 13,699 people, 23,978 rental assistance checks, and 3,567 $400 utility assistance checks. More checks have already been mailed out.

But, it's still not enough. So many in need have been turning to churches like Fallbrook.

"We have a responsibility to minister to people, and that's holistically," said Senior Pastor Michael Pender. "People have spiritual needs, but they also have physical needs."

"It's going to get hard. That's going to build your character, that's going to build your endurance, that's going to build your faith," Newsome added. "If you keep going, that's all that matters. You're never going to stay in the same place."

"Ultimately, in the end, it is going to be in part the community that helps look out for each other," said Judge Goodwin. "That's all I'm trying to encourage others to do, to look out for their neighbors, give to others if they're able."

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