Statement from Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo on the Resumption of Eviction and Debt-Collection Proceedings

May 18, 2020

County Judge Lina Hidalgo today issued the following statement in response to the Texas Supreme Court’s removal of emergency protections halting eviction and debt-collection proceedings during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“I am deeply disappointed the Texas Supreme Court lifted critical protections for our residents. Restarting eviction and debt-collection proceedings right now will only deepen the well of desperation many families are experiencing across our county. These are hard-working families who, through no fault of their own, have lost irreplaceable income during this pandemic and may not qualify for federal assistance or eviction protections. Thousands of Harris County residents are already on the ropes, and becoming homeless will crush their chances for short-term recovery and long-term economic independence. Evicting families is also a threat to public health - we’re working day and night to stop the spread of this virus and, at a time when we’re asking residents to stay or work from home to limit spread, we cannot afford to contribute to a surge in homelessness.

The economic pain stemming from this crisis is hurting all of us - landlords, tenants, business owners and workers alike. We will continue to press forward at the county level to provide relief.”

Harris County has awarded $10 million to small businesses hurting from the Coronavirus crisis. Tomorrow, Harris County Commissioners Court will vote to finalize a relief fund to be administered by the Greater Houston Community Foundation to help vulnerable residents coping with the economic fallout of the COVID-19 crisis. If approved, this relief fund will provide short-term emergency disaster relief for qualifying applicants’ basic needs, which can include rent, mortgages, utilities, food, medical, childcare, transportation, and other expenses.

Media wishing to interview Judge Hidalgo regarding the fund or the Texas Supreme Court action continuing eviction and debt-collection proceedings can contact Melissa at mel[email protected].