HARRIS COUNTY, Texas – Local officials and community leaders held several transit clinics on Saturday afternoon.
“The number one thing people are happy with in life is a roof over their heads,” said Rodney Ellis, Harris County commissioner.
Volunteer attorneys helped determine if tenants were eligible for protection under CDC moratorium guidelines. They also helped those who qualify to complete and sign the required declaration on site.
For people like Aurelia Andrade, the event was something they needed.
“It was horrible because we are on an income and I can’t get a job because of COVID, they’re not hiring,” she said.
Andrade said the past year has not been easy for her family.
“And we paid our rent because the last thing we want to be is under a bridge,” she said.
But many experts like Eric Kwartler were there to help.
“Even if I can only keep one person in their house, that was a day for me,” he said.
Eric Kwartler, an attorney and professor at the South Texas College of Law in Houston, said many tenants are unaware of their rights.
“One big thing people need to understand is that you may get a notification from your landlord to stay in your home because you have rights,” Kwartler said.
Kwartler said if you can, keep paying rent even if your landlord hasn’t fixed any problems in your home.
“This is how it works now, you have to keep paying your rent or your ability to enforce your rights and get those repairs done will go away,” he said.
Volunteers also helped tenants apply for rental assistance through two new state and local government programs.
People like Andrade said they were grateful for the legal assistance.
“Today I learned that we don’t even have to do that because there are laws that protect us from being evicted,” she said.
Here are other ways to get help with rental assistance:
- Texas Rent Relief Program (now accepting applications): texasrentrelief.com or call 1-833-989-7368.
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