Action 13 saves family from eviction after housing assistance programs fails to send rent money

Saturday, April 20, 2024
Action 13 steps in after Texas assistance housing program fails to send money to family on brink of eviction
A mother with two young children was about to be evicted from their home with nowhere to go until they turned to ABC13.

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- A mother with two young children was about to be evicted from their home with nowhere to go until they turned to ABC13.

Josephine Perez works at a school cafeteria and says that while she loves her job and working with students, it does not pay well.

She and her family, including her two young children, were crammed in a 1-bedroom apartment.

"My husband and I were sleeping on the floor because that's what we could afford at the time, we wanted them to be comfortable," Perez said.

Perez saw a flier from Chosen One Ministry and was approved for a housing assistance program.

ABC13 received a copy of the eligibility certification, signed by the ministry in December.

Perez moved her family into a new home in Rosenberg and her two children got their own bedrooms.

"They've even started marking their heights on the door," Perez said.

Her landlord, however, hasn't received a dime.

ABC13 got in touch with their former case worker who says she thought the family was eligible for the program until the Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs said to qualify in certain counties, someone in the family must have a disability.

Perez says her son does have a disability, so the case worker re-applied. However, Perez hasn't gotten a straight answer about where the case stands or when they will receive the money.

An attorney representing the landlord said they had no choice but to evict the family.

"It has been story after story," Perez said. "I can't move out of here now, my kids are happy, they are thriving and I don't want to disappoint them."

ABC13 contacted a spokesperson for the Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs.

According to the spokesperson, TDCA did not get corrected paperwork from the ministry until April 9. Hours after reaching out, the spokesperson said the family had been approved.

The spokesperson also said the Chosen One Ministry is responsible for paying the landlord and requesting reimbursement through TDHCA. According to them, however, the Chosen One Ministry has not asked for rental payment reimbursement for this applicant.

The spokesperson went on to say they are actively working with the organization to get this solved.

The reverend at Chosen One Ministry later returned ABC13's calls and confirmed the state had approved the family. The reverend said he is thankful for ABC13's involvement, claiming the state took a long time to approve the family.

Full statement from TDCA:

I serve as the media advisor for the Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs. Chad forwarded your email and voice message to me. Please see below as our response to your inquiry:

TDHCA works with local organizations to administer funds at the local level. Our subrecipients, like The Chosen Ones, are required to submit proper and correct paperwork for individuals they are helping. In this circumstance, TDHCA was unable to identify eligibility until corrections were finalized by the organization on April 9. TDHCA approved the activity, today.

It's important to note, subrecipients are required to support applicants in the type of assistance needed, in this case rental assistance, and then draw the funds from TDHCA as a reimbursement. The Chosen Ones are responsible for payment issued to the landlord. TDHCA then will reimburse the organization based on the costs incurred once eligibility has been established, again that happened today.

The Chosen Ones Ministry has not requested rental payment reimbursement for this applicant. TDHCA has called the organization asking about this activity and is actively working with The Chosen Ones to get this matter corrected as soon as possible.

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