Houston-area evictions continue for renters unaware of relief programs

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- Evictions skyrocketed during the pandemic and some have continued despite rental relief programs. That's because many people who need help don't know how to apply.

This is why several groups including the South Texas College of Law and the Texas Gulf Coast Area Labor Federation have banded together to help inform struggling renters of their options.

ABC13 spoke with many people trying to make ends meet during these difficult times, including Coretta Harry, a Houston mother of two who said she's had a hard time with rent payments.

SEE ALSO: Third Ward residents told they need to vacate apartments that were sold

"How are you going to pay for the electricity, cell phone, food? It's hard," she said. "We'll be on the streets next, with the kids, nowhere to go."

Volunteers have been knocking on doors and handing out thousands of flyers at area apartment complexes. They're promoting free drive-thru information events on Saturday, Feb. 27, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the following three locations:

  • 2727 El Camino
  • 7521 Fauna
  • 14350 Wallisville

The events are designed to tell each attendee what steps they can take to stay in their homes. Volunteers who were handing out informational flyers to low-income apartment complex residents on Thursday afternoon described the emotional toll of seeing people on the verge of eviction.

"It's heartbreaking," community liaison Gretchen Knoles said. "It's heartbreaking that people aren't aware of what resources are out there for them."

They're pointing out federal, state and local options for keeping people safe from eviction.

"So, this eviction moratorium is designed to help those renters. It was designed specifically to keep people in their homes, but in order to be protected, you have to fill out a declaration," Jay Malone with the Texas Gulf Coast Area Labor Federation said.

Another option that is now available includes $159 million in rental assistance relief funds for Houston and Harris County. Both renters and landlords can now apply starting by visiting HoustonHarrisHelp.org or by calling 211.

SEE ALSO: Applications for $159 million COVID-19 rental relief fund opens

"Every week, we talk to somebody at the door who says, 'Thank you. I just got a notice to vacate, and this is the only thing that's keeping me in the house,'" Malone said.

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