TEXAS, USA — You may remember back in March when the state supreme court imposed a 30 day moratorium on all eviction proceedings in Texas. That moratorium was then extended for another 30 days, but officially came to an end today.
The idea was to give people a break if they've lost their job because of the pandemic, but now there has been increased activity at the courthouse.
We checked with five of our Justice of the Peace Courts and they are reporting a total of over 75 landlords who have filed eviction cases against their tenants. Right now, the plan is for those hearings to start as early as June 1.
"We can only go in on imminent threat I have done a total of three I think I've done three, at least three of those and so I know that it's difficult unfortunately because right after the pandemic we certainly didn't want to evict anyone started in one event anyone who where are they going to go?" Judge Lucy Rubio said.
The whole question surrounding the entire eviction issue is not altogether clear and many of the judges told 3News they are still looking for guidance from the state.
"We are getting all of this conflicting information I have my own COVID-19 file of all the things I've gotten from information and we have to follow those supreme court orders and we have to follow and Nueces County orders so once all that is cleared," Judge Rubio added.
We've also learned that essential workers are covered by the moratorium until July 25. Also, people who receive federal rent assistance or rent from a property that has a federally backed mortgage can't be evicted thanks to a provision in the Federal Cares Act.
To recap what the moratorium ending means, even though evictions were stayed, tenants are still responsible for payment of rent. Residential evictions can resume today, May 19 for non payment and "writs of possession" may be executed beginning May 26.
If you need some assistance, here are some resources that can help:
The Texas Health and Human Services Department encourages people to dial 2-1-1 on their phones to get help with rent, utility bills, housing assistance, food pantries and more.
In Nueces County, there are several organizations that are willing to help out with those in need.
City officials in Corpus Christi said they've been able to hand out about $60,000 from a federal program to help people to pay their bills. That's out of a total available grant of $800,000.
Families struggling with bills have been able to apply for help through the Salvation Army and the Corpus Christi Hope House. Last month, the city council approved a program to distribute $2.5M into various programs to help people in need. Some of that money went to feed the elderly and $800,000 was earmarked for those who needed to pay their rent, mortgage and utilities. Those in charge say it's been slow going because it's a complicated process.
"Be a little patient we are working with the folk's [at] Salvation Army and the Hope House that are really doing a very hard job trying to get people in and out as fast as they can so that unfortunately it being federal funds it's going to take a little bit of time," Rudy Betancourt Director of Housing Community Development said.
We're told there is a long list of people who have signed up for assistance and additional staff is being brought in to help with that backlog.
For the latest updates on coronavirus in the Coastal Bend, click here.
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