HOUSTON – Tonya Fisher had two days left on the clock.
“I was facing eviction at the time, and I was literally living out of my car,” Fisher said.
The mother of five said she began to move her family’s belongings out of their apartment after her last appearance in Harris County Justice of the Peace Court. The court ruled in favor of Fisher’s landlord, giving her five days to come up with the back rent she owed — money she didn’t have after being laid off.
Fisher said she tried to apply for help from several relief funds established during the pandemic, but was denied.
“I tried Catholic charities. I didn’t get that one,” Fisher said.
Geraldine Jordan also tried to get help but said she wasn’t successful.
“I gave up. I was like, so many people can’t get help,” Geraldine said.
Geraldine and Eugene Jordan raise their four grandchildren. Eugene is still working, but Geraldine is not. She said she lost her job working the rodeo after it was canceled.
Help arrived Monday for the Jordans, Tonya Fisher, and eight other families, thanks to Trae Tha Truth’s Relief Gang and the John Wall family foundation.
“We decided to pay 10 people’s rent,” Trae said, highlighting the growing need for rental assistance, according to housing advocates.
Those 10 families are among tens of thousands in Harris County alone who need the help, and it comes at a time housing advocates express concern that more evictions could be imminent in Texas — despite a federal CDC ban.
While the CDC last week announced an extension of its eviction moratorium for nonpayment of rent through June, guidelines adopting those rules, along with further guidance for JP judges, expired March 31.
“There’s no guidance on how the courts should proceed with these declarations, and it’s up to the individual courts to decide how to move forward wiry this,” said Jon-Ross Trevino, an attorney, and manager of Lone Star Legal Aid’s Houston Housing and Consumer Division.
Trevino stresses that tenants with questions should seek legal help because the CDC block remains in place.
“We are concerned that people may slip through the cracks,” he said.