HOUSTON – For Houston’s Judy Phillips is one of thousands of Houston area residents being forced to seek shelter because of the COVID crisis.
The cancer survivor, already on public assistance and without a job due to the COVID crisis, was set to leave her apartment on Monday after being hit with an eviction notice because of missed rent. As someone whose dwelling was damaged by Hurricane Harvey
She has experienced homelessness before.
“If you don’t pay that rent nowhere, anywhere, the rent at the apartments, the house, the motel you gotta go,” said Phillips, fighting back tears. “Every day we had to think about money.”
But Tuesday she received a reprieve.
After seeing Phillips’s story Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee stepped in swiftly to get funds from the federal Heroes Act to get Phillips' back rent and late fees paid in full. The act requires landlords to sign on to the program and Jackson Lee had a strong plea for them.
“Don’t evict people while the city and the county are trying to process relief,” Jackson Lee said. “You’re evicting people with children who are now trying to start school. They can’t afford for their address to be changed.”
The landlord of the Spanish Village Apartments, south of Third Ward, was on hand to receive the payment. And while Judy Phillips has a roof over her head Tuesday night, her story echoes the plight of thousands of our fellow neighbors and Houstonians hit hardest by the pandemic.
“I am tired of getting put out from door to door and I’m fixing to open my mouth and I don’t care who talks about me,” Phillips said. “I’m going to tell you that I need help.”
Because of Tuesday’s agreement, Phillips will be allowed to stay in her apartment at least through the end of the year.