Harris County Commissioners Court Adds $4M to County’s Eviction Legal Aid Program

19 Dec, 23

HarrisCounty Commissioners Court on Tuesday approved investing an additional $4million for the Housing and Legal Services Fund Program that helps preventpeople from being evicted from their homes. The additional funds will bring thetotal to $9 million the county has invested in the program since 2021.

“Everyone inHarris County deserves safe, healthy, affordable and stable housing,”Commissioner Ellis said. “But thousands of our neighbors are at risk of losingtheir homes through eviction. This was a problem before 2020 and became acrisis in the pandemic. Since March 2020, landlords have filed at least 220,800evictions in Harris County courts.”

Theadditional funds include $2 million to a group of legal aid providers throughLone Star Legal Aid and $2 million to Neighborhood Defender Service for evictionprevention services, including representing renters in court.

In 2021, thecounty invested $1 million in the Eviction Defense Coalition – Lone Star LegalAid, Houston Volunteer Lawyers and South Texas College of Law – whocollectively served 12,000 households facing eviction. In September2022, another $4 million was invested using American Rescue Plan Act funds forthe initiative.

The evictioncrisis hits families especially hard, with the greatest predictor of aneviction being the presence of a child in the home.  Commissioner Ellissaid it would be irresponsible to ignore this crisis.

“Althoughthis investment won’t meet the extraordinary demand for eviction legalservices, it will help thousands of people stay in their homes” Commissioner Ellissaid. “I appreciate the legal service providers who have stepped up, thehousing advocates who have pushed Harris County to lead, and  Housing andCommunity Development for helping to make this initiative possible.”