The Supreme Court of the United States ruled in a decision on August 26 to end the CDC moratorium on evictions. This ruling has endangered hundreds of thousands of Texans who have relied upon the moratorium to keep them both sheltered and safe from the spread of COVID-19 while State and local government delivers critical rent relief to households in need.
Texas State and local officials must act to protect renters in danger of displacement or homelessness amid a global health emergency. With almost 700,000 Texan households currently behind on rent and at risk of eviction in the coming days and weeks according to the latest Census Bureau Household Pulse Survey, we simply cannot afford to gamble with this many lives at stake. We are sharing our five-step plan here on our blog, and you can read our full statement attached below:
We call on the State of Texas, county commissioners, and city governments to cooperate on a five-step emergency plan to keep Texans housed.
- Enact a short moratorium for those waiting for rent assistance. The Governor and the Texas Supreme Court should order an eviction moratorium of up to 90 days for tenants who have applied for rent assistance and are waiting on their application to be processed by State or local government.
- Award all rental relief in 90 days. The Governor, county commissioners, and city councils should direct State, city, and county officials to disburse all rental assistance to landlords and tenants in no more than 90 days. State and local rental relief programs must commit to further streamlining the rental relief application process to ensure rental relief is disbursed more quickly.
- Reduce wait time for rent assistance to 2 weeks. State and local rental relief programs must commit to reducing application-to-disbursal waiting period to 14 days or less, by any means possible.
- Help tenants and landlords get the assistance. State and local governments will assign workers to eviction courts to work with tenants and landlords before eviction hearings to abate cases through expedited rent assistance. Rent relief applications will permit tenants to release their phone number to trusted social service organizations.
- Appropriate federal funds for rent and affordable housing. The Texas Legislature will allocate a significant portion of the of $15.8 billion in federal American Rescue Plan funds the State of Texas has received to be used for rent relief and the construction of new affordable rental housing.