HOUSTON – Harris County Precinct One Constable Alan Rosen made national headlines last September for showing how families were being evicted during the pandemic. In the days that followed, Rosen and his team raised $252,000 through a GoFundMe account to help those dealing with evictions.
“I just want to thank the community that supported this initiative (and) that gave money to it,” Rosen said.
KPRC 2 Investigates had questions regarding the status of the funds donated to the precinct for its initiative.
“I think it’s been brilliantly successful,” said Assistant Chief Carl Shaw.
In an interview on Monday, Shaw revealed 1,200 families have been assisted, but KPRC 2 Investigates has learned a significant amount of the money raised -- $180,000 -- remains unspent and sits in the Harris County Constable Precinct 1 Foundation account.
Shaw admitted only $70,000 has been used so far.
“We’ve been spending the money in an effort to get into the neighborhoods so people could take advantage of the system,” said Shaw.
KPRC 2 Investigates asked Eric Kwartler of the South Texas College of Law, a partner in the initiative, if they had handed money directly to the people.
“No, we don’t. We’re lawyers,” said Kwartler.
Precinct 1 paid $70,000 to provide legal services to help people being evicted by establishing clinics, drive-throughs, and hotlines.
As for how much is actually going to the people?
“Well, ultimately, all the money is going to the people,” said Shaw.
When KPRC 2 Investigates posed the statement, “Some of these people needed money months ago, and here we are 10 months later, and you still have $180,00 with $70,000 going to the school.”
Shaw quickly responded, “But see, you make the exact right point.”
There are still many people and families struggling as the CDC’s moratorium on evictions is set to expire later this week. Below is the contact information for several key counties in the Houston area that have ongoing rental assistance/mortgage programs.