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Here’s how tenants facing evictions in Harris County can get help

Coronavirus has hit people hard in many ways. For some families, that means financial hardship and the threat of eviction looms overhead.

The Texas Eviction Diversion Program is designed to help families in the county who may be struggling with financial hardships and back rent.

Harris County is one of nine counties in Texas testing out the program after receiving Federal Cares Act money for the program. Gulf Coast Community Services Association in Houston received $600,000 to help landlords and tenants.

Attorneys with Lone Star Legal Aid were present in the courtroom on Tuesday morning to help guide tenants through the process and answer any questions during eviction dockets.

“The program will pay up to six months of rent,’ said Jonna Treble with Lone Star Legal Aid, “That’s five months back into the past, as late as April, and one month into the future.’

However, Treble said that things did not go as planned.

“This morning in the last hour we have seen zero takers,” Treble said. “In every single instance, the judge has asked the parties if they are aware of the program which presents a win-win option for landlords and tenants, with the landlords getting up to six months of rent paid back and the tenant gets to stay in their home and gets back on their feet.”

Families have to be in the eviction process to qualify and it is still available.

“The goal here is to make sure the tenant as well as the landlord, once they go thru the process, that at the end of the program it needs to end with a zero balance,” said Amanda Shelton with Gulf Coast Community Services, “That will alleviate some of those hard choices and decisions that many families have been making.”