$1,500 relief checks return to Harris County, as well as money to cover eviction appeals

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- With no eviction moratorium in place, two new programs announced Thursday are aimed to help keep tenants in their homes.

HARRIS COUNTY BRINGS BACK $1,500 RELIEF PROGRAM

Starting next week, Harris County neighbors can apply for a $1,500 relief check. The county launched the program earlier this summer and $30 million was added to it. This means another 20,000 families can get assistance.

People can apply to this program starting Wednesday, Sept. 8, and it runs until Sunday, Sept. 12.

During the first round, 200,000 people applied. Officials said money from it has started to be distributed.

To learn how to apply, click here.

NEED MONEY TO APPEAL AN EVICTION? THERE'S A NEW PROGRAM TO PAY FOR IT

On Thursday, Harris County Precinct 1 Constable Alan Rosen's office donated nearly $190,000 to local legal groups, including the South Texas College of Law Houston, to help tenants facing eviction.

If a tenant loses an eviction trial, in order to appeal, they need to give the court a month's rent. Money from the program will go to cover the cost.

This way, tenants can apply for rent. Once approved, the appeal money can be returned and used for another family.

SEE ALSO: Harris County Precinct 1 Constable's initiative aims to help tenants facing eviction

Harris County Precinct 1 program was made possible by a GoFundMe page.

"Generous Houstonians funded this work to help keep families in their homes," South Texas College of Law Houston president, Michael Barry said.

In order to get help, you can contact the groups at 713-646-2990 or 713-652-0077.

EVICTIONS ON THE RISE

Last week, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled the eviction moratorium that was put in place during the pandemic was unconstitutional. This means families impacted by the pandemic can be evicted.

Last month, Constable Rosen said his agency had to evict 70 families from their homes. The group January Advisors tracks eviction filings in Harris County.

The data shows the number of filings increased last month, but they're still below pre-pandemic numbers. Rosen worries the number will climb unless people reach out for help.

SEE ALSO: What Texas renters need to know about getting help now that the nationwide eviction ban has ended

"My fear is people don't know how to take advantage of that," Rosen said. "We could see a significant rise in evictions."

MILLIONS IN RENTAL RELIEF PROGRAMS ARE STILL AVAILABLE

Earlier this year, the state, along with Harris County and the city of Houston launched rental relief programs. There are still millions available.

Officials said the money is there, but explaining that to tenants has been a challenge.

"All of us struggle with messaging. All of us struggle to get to people where they are," said South Texas College of Law Houston staff attorney Eric Kwartler.

He said if you've applied and were rejected, apply again, or try different programs. Kwartler said you don't need to have legal status either to apply.

"We've seen people get a year's back rent paid," Kwartler recalled. "This is a serious thing. They're giving out real money to solve your problems."

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