“Housing Responds” to the Dallas Area’s Lack of Affordable Housing
LOOKING TO THE FUTURE
Brundage noted that the situation only stands to worsen without immediate action. “Right now, at the state level, there are up to 4 million people at risk of eviction,” she said. It’s imperative that the Senate pass the pending HEROES Act, she said, which will provide significant financial help and protection against evictions. “We need to advocate for robust relief and make sure it gets deployed correctly,” she said.
“What people need right now is a substantial, in the billions, investment in housing support for renters that prevents them from ever missing a payment. Eviction moratoriums don’t fix missed payments, rather delay the inevitable, and they put a burden on landlords who are not all big property-management companies. Families won’t magically come up with the funds needed to pay the rent they’ve missed over the last several months.”
In Houston, she said, a program for eviction diversion has been created, a partnership among courts hearing evictions, local governments and nonprofits. It would identify tenants who could benefit, putting a temporary hold on court proceedings and connecting those tenants with rental assistance or other resources.
“Eviction diversion requires mediation in evictions, with facilitated access to emergency and legal assistance. It should also include expungement of the eviction proceedings from any legal record to prevent lasting harm,” Brundage said. “Many landlords won’t rent to families with a history of evictions.
“If programs are put into place to help renters, and landlords and even judges better understand the complexities of the ordinances that are in place to help families stay housed, along with financial assistance to pay the rent that is owed, we can provide the housing stability that many of our families and landlords need.”
“We are exploring now if this is something that can be replicated here. I believe it can—we have JPs [justices of the peace] who are interested in helping address this looming crisis. And putting a program in place now will help families in the future.”
Do your or someone you know in Dallas County need rental or utilities assistance due to COVID-19 related income changes? Learn more and apply through our Dallas Rental Assistance Collaborative.
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This article was published on: Aug 18, 2020