With federal eviction ban expiring July 31, community organizers help Texans apply for rent relief

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Hundreds of thousands of Texans are finding it difficult to stay up to date on their rent payments as they recover from the economic distress caused by the coronavirus pandemic. Women of color were hit particularly hard by the pandemic’s economic fallout. More than 1 in 6 Latinas reported they were behind on rent at the beginning of the summer, according to a National Women’s Law Center analysis of the Census Bureau’s Household Pulse Survey.

Dhamaris Rodriguez, a 19-year-old organizer in Houston, helps Hispanic families apply for emergency rent assistance. As the child of immigrant parents from Mexico, she has found purpose in informing and supporting residents like Blanca Morales as they navigate rental assistance programs and the eviction process. Morales lost her job during the pandemic and has not been able to pay her rent.

Local and state rental assistance programs will be the last line of defense for families facing eviction after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention eviction moratorium expires Saturday. Thousands of evictions that were paused during the moratorium will soon be back on the dockets. While the federal ban was implemented to slow the spread of COVID-19, it is expiring as the share of Texans testing positive for the coronavirus climbs statewide with the rise of the delta variant.

In this documentary short, we follow Rodriguez as she helps families navigate a local rent relief program to arm renters with the information and resources they need to divert evictions before they start.

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