When Texans are confronted with rising floodwater, violent tornadoes, or other threats, we have shown that we band together to protect one another.
A global pandemic should be no different. The novel coronavirus, COVID-19, has made its way to Texas, and to keep it from spreading, experts and our government officials have advised all people to limit contact with one another.
The practice of social distancing may protect us all, but it also can have isolating and harmful impacts on some Texans who are out of work, out of money, and could face further loss if our local, state, and federal government officials don’t act now to ensure housing, health and safety for everyone.
Texas Housers advocates the following to protect the most vulnerable Texans from financial and personal catastrophe.
- State health and housing officials should provide landlords with guidance on cleaning and signage to promote and improve public health of residents.
- All Justices of the Peace and constables should suspend any foreclosure or eviction filings or proceedings during the duration of the recommended social distancing period.
- The State of Texas should allocate and distribute emergency assistance funds for people struggling to meet basic needs during pandemic.
- Cities should ensure that all Texans are able to receive healthcare, food assistance, and access to hygiene items regardless of income, immigration status, or insurance status. This means providing healthy meals at schools for children, providing food delivery for senior citizens, and ensuring everyone has what they need to stay healthy and safe.
- Cities should provide safe environments (shelters, hotel rooms) for people experiencing homelessness to self-quarantine with access to hygiene items and food.
- For a reasonable time after authorities deem that the public is safe to continue typical social contact and business operations, counties should provide legal services for all those who could be facing evictions or foreclosures due to financial shocks caused by the pandemic.
While each of us is isolated from one another, the spirit of community should remain intact. We can each care for our neighbors to get us through this time. The State of Texas and our local officials can promote the well-being of all Texans by implementing practices and policies that demonstrate our care for our statewide community.