3 Ways To Avoid Eviction If You Cannot Find Rental Assistance In Houston

avoid eviction

3 Ways To Avoid Eviction If You Cannot Find Rental Assistance In Houston


In this guide, I will talk to you about steps that you can take to avoid eviction if you cannot find rental assistance in Houston. 

Even in the best of times, nonprofits are strapped for cash and this makes it difficult to find rental assistance. During the COVID 19 pandemic, there is an even greater demand for rental assistance which makes it more difficult to find help to pay bills. Because of this anyone having financial struggles is encouraged to learn about alternative actions they can take to avoid eviction in the event that they cannot come up with the money needed to pay their rent or utility bills. 

I’m Nick Bryant founder of Houstoncasemanagers.com where we help citizens and health care professionals fund the resources they need like rental assistance, utility assistance, and similar resources.

Today I will talk to you about 3 actions you can take to avoid eviction if you have a sudden loss of income due to COVID-19. 

Search For Rental Assistance By Zip Code 

If you need help paying bills you should start by searching for nonprofits that help your zip code. You find nonprofits who may be able to help by typing your zip code into the table below:

Agency AddressPhoneType of AssistanceArea/Zip Code servedHourss
AIDS Foundation HoustonWeb6260 Westpark Dr #100 713.623.6796 Only offers assistance to clients with HIV and AIDS. Offers housing, mental health, substance abuse, assistance applying for SNAP, TANF, Medicaid, Texas Women's Health PlanHarris CountyM-F 930 to 4pm. Walk ins welcome but priority is given to those with appointments.
Baytown Resource & Assistance Center Web5309 Decker Dr281.424.5752. *Must make an appointment. Utilities, Clothing for Children, Employment assistance services Residents of McNair, Baytown, Highlands or Chambers CountyMon: 8 to 5pm. Closed from 12 to 1pm for lunch.
Avenue 360 (formerly Bearing Omega and Houston Area Community Services) Web2150 West 18th Street713.426.0027Housing referrals, medical support, Rent, Mental HealthHIV/AIDs clients onlyM - F: 8 to 5pm
Bethel's Heavenly HandsWeb 12660 Sandpiper Dr713.729.6477Food, Clothing, Thursday Food Distributions, Senior Commodity Program, Harris CountyMon, Tues, Fri
Braes Interfaith MinistriesWeb4300 W. Bellfort713.723.2671 Food, ClothingSW: 77025, 77035, 77045, 77051, 77053, 77054, 77071, 77085, 77096M-F 730a - 530p
Brentwood Community Foundation Web13033 1/2 Landmark Street713.852.2551Resources for those with HIV/AIDS. Rent, Mortgage, Food, Utilities, housing referrals Those with HIV/AIDS in Houston areaM-F 8am to 5pm
Catholic Charities Main Office Web2900 Louisiana

Other Locations: Houston Locations

713.874.6590 or 713.526.4611Rent, Utilities, Food, Counseling, Adoption, Immigration, Limited Financial Assistance, Saturday Food Fairs, Case Management, Help applying for SNAP, Medicaid, TANF, 77003, 77004, 77011, 77012, 77013, 77020, 77021, 77023, 77029, 77030, 77054, 77547M-F 730a - 530p
Chinese Community CenterWeb9800 Town Park713.271.6100Utilities (must have cut off notice), Weatherization, Adult day program, Gold Card Application Assistance, Income Tax Help, SNAP, Free Legal Clinic, Citizenship Application Assistance, 77024, 77036, 77042, 77056, 77057, 77063, 77072, 77074, 77077, 77079, 77081, 77082, 77083, 77094, 77099, 77450, 77494, 77477, Tues 9am - 12pm
Christian Community CenterWeb3434 Branard713.871.9741Rent, Utilities, Food, Clothing, Vocational Training, Jobnet Program W-SW: 77002, 77003, 77004, 77005, 77006, 77007, 77010, 77011, 77012, 77019, 77020, 77021, 77023, 77025, 77026, 77027, 77030, 77046, 77056, 77057, 77081, 77096, 77098, 77401M-F 10a - 2pm Sat 9a - 12p (food and clothing only)
City Fellowship Church Christian Rescue Mission Web3220 Hadley713.659.7750Rent, Utilities, Food Harris CountyTues-F: 10a -12p
City of Houston Water Aid To Elderly Residents Program4200 Leeland Houston, TX 77023
Mail application here.
713.371.1400Assistance paying water bill. $100 every six months. Low income seniors (60+) residing in Houston are the priority. Individuals w disabilities and low income families are also encourage to apply. WebWater Assistance Application: Web
City Wide ClubWebMultiple locations713.752.2582Rent, Utilities, Food, Employment Referrals, Housing and Shelter Recovery Program - room and board for families, seniors, homeless faced w physical, mental substance abuse challenges, Project Warm-Up helps with electric heaters and utilities, Project Cool Down helps w fans and shelters in summer Harris County and surrounding areasTues-Th 10a-1p
Covenant House Texas Web1111 Lovett Blvd713.523.2231Crisis shelter, Transitional shelter for youth ages 18 to 20. Medical and clothing provided. Job placement for young adults. Houston areaM-F 8a to 5p
Comprehensive Energy Assistance Program (CEAP) Web713.957.4357 or 211 Utilities Assistance for low income seniors (60+) and/or have documented disability expected to last 12 monthsHarris CountyM-F 8a-5p
Cypress Area Ministries Web11202 Huffmeister281.955.7684Rent, utilities, food, clothing. CAM may pay a portion of the past due balance on a utility bill. The client is required to pay the balance of the amount past due, or have a pledge for that amount, prior to CAM’s paying the pledged amount.77065, 77095, 77429, 77433M-F 10a-2p
Fair Haven Methodist Church Web1330 Gessner 713.476.4346 or (713) 468-3276Food77024, 77027, 77041, (Carverdale only), 77043, 77055, 77056, 77079, 77080,M-F 10a-2p
First Baptist ChurchWeb8009 Long Point713.554.8801 or (281) 229-9166Rent, mortgage, utilities, food, prescriptionsNW: Harris CountyM-Th 730a-11a Walk Ins only
Gulf Coast Community Services Web9320 Kirby Dr713.393.4700Rent, utilities, food, clothing, Q cards, eyewear vouchersSE: Harris CountyM-F 8a-5p
Harris County Housing Authority Housing Choice Voucher Web8933 Interchange Dr. 713.578.2100Housing Choice Vouchers distributed during open enrollmentHarris CountyM-F 8a-5p
Harris County Social Services Web9418 Jense Drive713.696.7900Rent, Utilities, Bereavement, Veteran servicesHarris CountyM-F 8a-5p
Hester HouseWeb2020 Solo713.274.1394Hot meals/seniors summer/youth campNW - 5th WardM-F 8a-5p
Houston Volunteers of America Web4808 Yale Street (Independence Heights Location)

731 West Davis Conroe, TX
713.460.0781 or 817.529.7300Assistance applying for SNAP, Medicaid, FASFA, Tax Season Assistance, Employment Placement Assistance Program for Healthcare jobs, Deaf and Blind Services, Day Habilitation Center for those with special needs, Residential Group Homes for children and adults with special needs, Substance Abuse Treatment, Housing for seniors and those with a disability, Homeless Veterans Help Houston and surrounding areas M-F 8a - 5p
Housing Authority of City of HoustonWeb2640 Fountain View Dr713.260.0600Housing Choice Vouchers and Public HousingM-F 8a-5p *By appointment.
Humble Area Ministries Web1302 First Street281.446.3663Food, rent, utilities,
Employment services, Clothing, Prescription Assistance, Birth Certificate and ID Assistance, Assistance with Eyeglasses
77336, 77345, 77347, 77372, 77338, 77346, 77357, 77396, 77339, 77347, 77365, 77532, 7 days a week/24 hours a day answering machine, leave message
Interfaith Caring Ministries Web151 Park Ave, League City281.332.3881Rent, utilities, minor home repair, and food for seniors (55+)Clear Creek ISD, Friendswood ISD, Clear Lake, Webster, 77034, 77058, 77059, 77062, 77089, 77546, 77565, 77573, 77586, 77598 M-F 830a-430p *by appointment
Immaculate Conception Catholic ChurchWeb 7250 Harrisburgh 713.921.1261Food 77011, 77012Thurs 930a - 1130m
Katy Christian Social Ministries Web 5011 East 5th St Katy, TX281.391.9623Rent, mortgage, utilities, food, clothing77084, 77094, 77406, 77423, 77441, 77449, 77450, 77464, 77476, 77485, 77493, 77494

M-Th 830a-12p 1230p -5p
Larkin Community Center Web5410 Larkin 713.869.9143Rent and Utility assistance to seniors and families with childrenM - F 8am to 5pm
LINC Houston Community Services Web1504 Johnson Street 713.426.2451Food, Prescriptions, Eye glasses, Rent, Security Deposit, Clothes, CHIP, Medicaid, Gold Card, Home RepairMon, Wed, Fri: 9 to 3pm
Lone Star Legal Aid Web1415 Fannin 713.652.0077 or 713.652.5911Legal services to low income individuals Harris, Ft Bend and Montgomery CountyM-F 830a - 1230p
MANNA - Ministry Assistance of the Near Northwest Allicance Web1806 W. 43rd Street346.335.2950 or 713.682.7556Utility, Gas, Rent, Clothing, Food, Assistance with SNAP, TANF, Medicaid, CHIP, 77007, 77008, 77009, 77018, 77022, 77037, 77040, 77076, 77088, 77091, 77092, M: 8 to 11, Tues and Thurs: 915 to 1115am.
Memorial Area MinistriesWeb1625 Blalock English 713.574.7533 Spanish 713.574.7536Rent, water, gas, medical assistance, prescriptions, transportation, clothing, Rapid Re-Housing, 77008, 77009, 77018, 77022, 77024, 77037, 77039, 77040, 77041, 77043, 77055, 77076, 77079, 77080, 77088, 77091, 77092, M-F 9a - 4p. Call between 9a - 12p M-F to set up an appointment.
My Brother's Keeper Outreach Center Web12713 A Bissonnet 281.489.9933Financial Assistance, Rent, Utilities, Food Pantry,
Mayors Office for People with Disabilities Web1475 West Gray832.394.0814 mopdmail@houstontx.govAdvocacy ServicesCity of Houston M-F 8a - 5p
North Channel Assistance MiWeb nistries 13837 Bonham713.453.8028Food, food stamp application help, Medicaid application help, clothing, 77013, 77015, 77029, 77044, 77049, 77078, 77530, M-F 8a-2p
Northwest Assistance Ministries Web15555 Kuykendahl281.583.5600Rent, mortgage, gas, water, prescriptions, gas vouchers, dental and medical, 77014, 77032, 77038, 77050, 77060, 77064, 77066, 77067, 77068, 77069, 77070, 77073, 77086, 77090, 77373, 77379, 77388, 77389, Tues 1p-4p Call for an appointment.
Operation ID Web5100 Travis Street713.620.6476Texas Identification CardHarris CountyTues & Thurs 9a-1130a. You will need a referral/voucher from an agency that Operation ID partners with.
Pasadena Community MinistriesWeb2301 South Houston 713.477.4336Rent, utilities, food, clothing, Pasadena, Deer Park, Tues 9a - 12p. Th 1p-4p
Riceville Baptist ChurchWeb11231 Gessner 713.774.4880Food, clothing, financial assistance, prison ministry 1st Wed of Month, 6p. Call for appointments.
Salvation ArmyWeb1500 Austin Street713.752.0677Rent, Food, Clothing, Utilities (water only), Senior Housing (62+) Harris CountyM-Th 830a - 430p
Saras HouseWeb711 Perla 713.475.1480Shelter, meals, clothing (women & children) Pasadena
Baker Ripley Web3838 Aberdeen Way 77025713-590-2327Case management, care giver support, dementia adult day program, utilities, must be under 150% FPL, preferences to elderly, disabled, clients w children under 5 yrs, no deposits or reconnection fees, 77016, 77020, 77026, 77028, 77004, 77021, 77033, 77051, 77087, 77003, 77011, 77012, 77020, 77023, 77034, 77058, 77059, 77062, 77075, 77089, 77502, 77504, 77506, 77571, 77598, Call for appointment
Senior Jobs Program (AARP)Web12727 Featherwood Dr281.922.9952Jobs, Harris CountyM-F 930a - 230p
Spring-Woodlands Ministries Web810 E. Louetta Suite A-E281.353.4480Food, clothing77373, 77338, 77389, 77379, 77380, 77381, 77382, 77386, 77388, M 1p-3p, W 9a-1130a, Thur 1p-3p
Society of St. Stephen Web1062 Fairmont Parkway281.487.1774Rent, utilities, food, 77502, 77503, 77505, 77506, 77507T-F New clients: 10a-1p
Society of St Vincent de PaulWeb2403 Holcombe Blvd713.741.8234 ext 101Food, Clothing, Rent, UtilityCity of Houston Zip Codes OnlyM -F 9am - 5pm
Southeast Area Ministries SEAMWeb2102 Houston Blvd 713.944.0093Rent, Utilities, Food, Clothing, Ongoing Senior assistance, Christmas assistance program, Prescription, Medical Supply assistanceSE: 77017, 77034, 77061, 77075, 77087, 77089, 77504, 77587, M-Th 10am - 1:30pm
St Bernadette Church Web15500 El Camino Real281.486.0337Food, Clothes, Rent, Utilities, Clear Lake: 77058, 77059, 77062, 77598, Tues: 930 to 1130am Thurs: 930 to 1130 Wed: Appt only
St. Cecilia ChurchWeb11720 Joan of Arc Drive 713.468.1185Rent, Utilities, Food, NW: 77024, 77043, 77055M-Th: 9am through 12pm
St Christopher Catholic ChurchWeb8150 Park Place713.645.6614 FoodSE: 77012, 77017, 77061, Sat: 930 to 11am
St. Hyacinth Catholic Church Web2921 Center St, Deer Park281.479.4298Rent, Utilities, FoodDeer Park: 77536M - F: 930 to 12pm 1pm to 430pm
St. John Vianney Social Services Web625 Nottingham Oaks281.497.4434Utilities, Food, Clothing, W: 77043, 77055 (Food & Clothing only) 77077, 77079 (Food, Clothing, Utilities ) M-F: 830 to 530pm
St. Joseph Catholic ChurchWeb1505 Kane Street713.222.8903Rent, Utilities, Food, 77007, 77008, 77009, M-T: 9am to 12pm 130 to 330pm
St Mary Magdalene Church 527 South Houston Ave, Humble281.540.1907Rent, Utilities, Food, NE: 77338, East of Lee Rd, 77346, (Only apartment complexes) M, W, F only. 930 to 1145am - 1st 12 people.
St Pious Catholic Church Web824 Main - Pasadena 713.473.9484Food, Rent, Utilities, Immigrant Legal Assistance, Free Health Screenings, Pasadena: 77501, 77507, 77536, 77547, 77587, Tues & Thurs: 10am to 1230pm
Target Hunger Service CenterWeb2814 Quitman 713.226.4953Emergency Food, Food Pantries, Monthly Food Fairs, Senior Home Delivery Program, Senior Day Site Program 77015, 77016, 77020, 77026, 77028, 77078, M-F: 9am to 5pm
The Bridge Over Troubled WatersWeb3811 Allen-Genoa Rd713.473.2801Emergency Shelter for Domestic Abuse VictimsHarris County
The House of AmosWeb8030 Boone Rd281.495.9061Food, Citizenship Classes, Lunches every Saturday, Free immunizations to uninsured children. M-Th: 9am to 12pm Sat: 10am to 12pm
Tomball Emergency Assistance Ministries (TEAM) Web300 W Main Street Tomball, TX 77375281.351.6700Utilities, Gas vouchers, Clothing, Food, Medical and Dental vouchers, Temporary Shelter Tomball zip codes 77375, 77377 or you live within Tomball school district. Tues and Thurs: 10am to 1pm. Application must be completed in person.
The Houston Food Bank Web535 Portwall832.369.9390Emergency Food Pantry, Help applying for SNAP, TANF, CHIP, MedicaidM-F: 8am to 5pm Sat: Telephone hotline only 8am to 4pm
United Way Web211Referrals for Food, Shelter, Rent, Utilities, Housing, Shelters, Substance AbuseHarris County
Wesley Community CenterWeb1410 Lee Street713.223.8131 ext 245Rent, Utilities, Food, Financial Education, Employment coaching, Help applying for Medicaid, SNAP, TANF, Harris CountyFriday Starts at 8am. Appointments Only. No appointment needed for Food.
West Houston Assistance MinistriesWeb10501 Meadowglen Lane713.977.9942Mortgage, Food, Utilities, Clothing, Employment Assistance, Bus Passes for job related trips, Work Clothes, 77042, 77057, 77063, 77072, 77077, 77082, M - F: 10am - 1pm
Wheeler Avenue Baptist Church Web3826 Wheeler713.747.7101Rent, Mortgage, Utilities, Food, Women's Housing (Badge Bush). Visit there site they help in plenty of ways. SE: 77770M-Th: 9 - 1230pm F: 9-1130am *Appointment only
Windsor Village Social ServicesWeb12041 1/2 Post Oak Rd713.551.8792Rent, Mortgage, Utilities, Food, Harris County and Ft Bend County Appointment only Monday 8am to 11am Food: T-W 9am to 11am. Th 1030am to 1230pm
Pearland Neighborhood CenterWeb 2335 N Texas Ave, Pearland, TX 77581281-485-1987, info@pnctexas.comRent, Utilities, Gas, Food and Baby Pantry, Bread Pantry, Santa's Helpers Program, School Supply Vouchers, Emergency Assistance, Finanical Stability Course, GED Scholarships, Disaster ReliefBrazoria CountyM - F 8 to 5
East Fort Bend Human Needs Ministry WWebeb435 Stafford Run Road
Stafford, Texas 77477-5639
281 261-1006Food, rent, utilities, resale shop, Christmas and Thanksgiving Meals, Backpacks for kids, East Fort Bend - 77053, 77459, 77477, 77478, 77479, 77489, 77545, 77583281 261-1006
Epiphany Community Health Outreach Services (ECHOS) WWebeb9600 S. Gessner, Bldg. E
Houston, Texas 77071
713 270-0369 Gold Card, Medcaid, SNAP, Food, ESL, Computer Literacy, Voter Registration, Child Immunizations, Vision Screening, Domestic Abuse Counseling and support groups, Serves Greater Houston713 270-0369
Emergency Aid Coalition (EAC) WWebeb5401 Fannin Street
Houston, Texas 77004-6808
(713) 522-5903 Food Pantry + Clothing (M-F 8:30am), Lunch Program (M - F + Sunday 11 am & 1pm, Backpacks (register in March) Serves Greater Houston (713) 522-5903
Interfaith of the Woodlands WebWeb4242 Interfaith Way
The Woodlands, Texas 77381
(832) 615-8219Rent, mortgage, utilities, prescription drugs, food, clothing, emergency shelter, Christmas gifts for kids, primary care, dental, womens health, senior transportation, senior grocery delivery, Woodlands - 77375, 77380, 77381, 77382, 77384, 77385, 77386, 77389, (832) 615-8219
My Brother's Keeper Outreach Center (not COH Program) WWebeb 12713A Bissonnet
Houston, TX 77099
(281) 498-9933Rent, utilities, Food, School supplies, Thanksgiving / Christmas Meal Program, Christmas gifts for kids, Easter baskets, 77031, 77035, 77036, 77042, 77056, 77071, 77072, 77074, 77081, 77082, 77083, 77085, 77096, 77099, 77401, 77477, 77478, (281) 498-9933
St. Vincent's House - Galveston Web2-2817 Alfreda Houston Place
Galveston, Texas 77550
(409) 763-8521 Vision + Dental clinic, Mental Health Counseling, Speech, Physical Occupational Therapy, Rent, Utilities, Case Management, Transportation, Galveston - 77591, 77568, 77590, 77563, 77554, 77551, 77550, 77555, 77552, 77553, (409) 763-8521
Hero Houston WWebeb12335 Kingsride, Box 230, Houston, TX 77024(713) 932-3996Offers services to seniors in the Memorial and Spring Branch area. Transportation to medical appointments, light handyman work, help filling out documents and senior service referrals. Memorial and Spring Branch area. 77024 77043 77055 77079 77080Monday - Friday 8 to 5
Public Utility commission of Texas (PUC) Web888.782.8477 or 512.936.7500Will not turn of utilities or electricity if you have a need for medical equipment or you are on life support
COVID-19 Electricity Relief Program web866.454.8387 or 888.782.8477The Texas COVID-19 Electricity Relief Program (CERP) helps consumers who are having trouble paying bills due to job loss or other related hardship.Who is eligible for the Texas COVID-19 Electricity Relief Plan?
Residential customers that qualify for unemployment or that are low income qualify for the Texas COVID-19 Electricity Relief Plan. Once approved for the Texas COVID-19 Electricity Relief Program, you will remain on the program for up to six months.

During that time, your electricity provider cannot disconnect your electricity for non-payment.
Fort Bend County WWeb eb 301 Jackson Street, Richmond, TX 77469281.238.2273 or 281.633.7795Rent and utility assistanceServes Fort Bend County and zip codes:77406, 77417, 77420, 77430, 77435, 77441, 77444, 77451, 77459, 77461, 77464
77469, 77471, 77476
77478, 77477, 77479
77481, 77485, 77489, 77496, 77494, 77407, 77498, 77545
Open normal business hours 8 to 5 pm

In addition to helping you with rent assistance, they can also help with utilities, food, clothing, toiletries, and more.  These are good starting points if you need help in multiple areas due to a financial setback. 

If you contact the agencies that assist your zip code but they are out of funding then you should resort to these next steps. 

1. Talk To Your Employer About Potential Financial Assistance

First, speak with your employer to see if they are offering any assistance in the form of Families First Act funds or voluntary payments.  If there is assistance this income can be used to help you avoid eviction and keep you afloat until you recover. 

Some employers (emphasis on some) offer up to two weeks of paid time off to anyone who is exposed to COVID-19 and this could be an option. Not every company offers this benefit but you should definitely speak with your supervisor or someone in human resources to see if this is an option for you.

Families First ACT Funding

The Families First Act is a federal law that required certain employers to offer employees paid sick leave in the event they need to quarantine with COVID-19. 

Editor’s note: The Families First Act expired on December 31st, however, the Consolidated Appropriations Act has made it possible for employers to continue providing paid leave for employees through March 31, 2021 if they choose to do so. Employers who provide paid leave during this time will receive a payroll tax credit. Essentially the Consolidated Appropriations Act has replaced Families First Act. 

I won’t get into the weeds on exactly which companies can offer sick leave under this act (see the legal section below), but if your employer does offer paid leave, they may be able to provide you with financial assistance during your quarantine. 

Voluntary Payments From Your Employer

There are some employers who aren’t subject to the Families First Act but still provide voluntary pay to their employees. If your employer offered voluntary pay, you would likely know about it, however, if you are struggling financially it does not hurt to ask. 

Editor’s note: If you are in a situation where you need income soon, asking your employer could be the quickest way to get cash needed for rental assistance. The alternative is to apply for unemployment, however, that is a much slower process. We will discuss it in the next section. 

Apply For Unemployment Through Texas Workforce Commission

In the event your employer does not have benefits to pay you while you are off, the next option is to contact Texas Workforce Commission and apply for unemployment benefits.

Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic individuals who had a job did not qualify for unemployment benefits. The current pandemic has changed these requirements because now there are more ways to qualify for unemployment benefits even if you have a job.

How Much Does Texas Workforce Commission Pay In Unemployment Benefits Per Week?  The standard benefit amount is $69 – $521
How Long Texas Unemployment Benefits Last?  26 week at most
What Is The Waiting Period?  1 week (temporarily waived)
How Do Texas Unemployment Benefits Work In Relation To COVID0-19? Employees could qualify for benefits if they have been laid off, lost hours, or must stay home to care for a family member who has COVID-19. 
Where Can I Search For Work In Texas?  You can use the Texas Workforce Commission Job Seekers Guide to find employment opportunities near you. 
Where Can I Find More Information About Unemployment Benefits Related To COVID-19?  The Texas Workforce Commission Frequently Asked Questions page has lots of answers to questions about unemployment benefits. 
How Do I Apply For Unemployment In Texas?  Visit the Texas Workforce Commission website to apply for unemployment benefits. 
What Is The Number To Texas Workforce Commission?  The number to file for unemployment in Texas is 800.939.6631

 

Review these next scenarios because if you qualify,  you could use your unemployment benefits to pay for rent, utilities, and any other basic needs that you need help paying for. 

Laid Off From Your Job

The first way to qualify for unemployment benefits if you were temporarily or permanently laid off from your job.  If you are in a situation you should definitely be contacting the Texas Workforce Commission to see what benefits you are entitled to.

Missed Time At Work Due To COVID-19

The next scenario that you would want to apply for unemployment benefits is if you have missed work due to quarantine with covid-19. This applies to you if you have missed hours of earnings due to quarantine. This benefit can reimburse you for the time that you missed due to your quarantine. 

Reduced Hours Due To COVID-19

If you still have your job and you’re currently working although your hours have been reduced this is another scenario in which you might qualify for Texas unemployment benefits. 

This benefit is called partial unemployment benefits

You could qualify for partial unemployment if you meet the following: 

  1. Reduction in hours through no fault of your own
  2. This reduction causes a loss of earnings
  3. You lose 37% of your hours. Essentially if you go from 40 hours a week to 25 hours, you could qualify for partial unemployment benefits. 

You Must Take Care Of A Family Member With COVID-19

If a family member has covid-19 and you must care for this individual you could qualify for unemployment benefits.

Self Employed But Unable To Work 

The Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) is an unemployment program for individuals who are self-employed or work in the gig economy (Uber, Door Dash, etc).

To learn more about the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance Program you can visit the Texas Workforce Commission website.

2. Speak To Your Landlord 

If you cannot find rental assistance you should consider speaking with your landlord as soon as possible in an effort to avoid eviction. 

In my experience clients who have spoken with their landlords in advance, have been given more leeway when it comes to extensions to pay their rent.

Once you know that you won’t be able to pay rent for the month reach out to your landlord. A good timeframe would be about 10 prior to your due date. 

Being honest and explaining your situation will help to keep you in good graces with your landlord.

CDC Eviction Ban 

Another reason you should speak with your landlord in advance is that the CDC eviction protections require it. 

Current eviction protections require you to: 

  1. Speak to your landlord about your situation and let them know that you are having trouble paying rent. 
  2. Show that you have made an effort to obtain rental assistance. You can prove your efforts by referring to the Houston nonprofits that you have called about financial assistance. 
  3. Print, sign, and deliver this CDC Declaration form to your landlord. 

Despite the CDC eviction protections, you can still be evicted for any of the following conditions: 

  • Committing a crime on the premises
  • Threatening someone on the premises
  • Damaging property
  • Violating the terms of your lease agreement. This does not refer to the late payments of rent.  

Landlords Cannot Evict You

It should be mentioned that your landlord cannot personally remove you from your apartment. They must win an eviction lawsuit in court, to have you removed. The removal process is then carried out by a police officer who is acting upon a judge’s decision. 

Many clients believe a notice to vacate signs means that they will be kicked out on that date. This is not true.

A notice to vacate signs simply means that if the rent is not paid by the date specified on the notice, then the landlord can send an eviction lawsuit to the courts. 

Try and Work with Your Landlord

Despite the CDC eviction ban, you still want to try working with your landlord. Don’t flaunt the fact that there is an eviction ban, because it won’t last forever and you want to stay in good graces with your landlord. 

It may be hard to look at the situation from your landlord’s perspective, but they are likely under intense pressure from their bank to make their mortgage payments as well. Attempting to work with your landlord may buy you more time to come up with this month’s rent or even prevent them from charging you with late fees. 

In the event that you’ve tried to be cordial and honest with your landlord, but they are not willing to work with you the next section will provide you with local legal aid nonprofits who can talk to you about your tenant rights. 

3. Seek Legal Assistance / Learn About Your Tenant Rights

While there are some landlords who are willing to work with you I have also heard stories of landlords not being so patient.

If your landlord has placed a notice to vacate sign on your door these are things that you can do to protect yourself from eviction.

Refer To The CDC Eviction Ban Requirements

Follow the instructions in the previous section which included: 

  • Letting your landlord know that you are struggling to pay your rent
  • List the steps you’ve taken to try finding rental assistance. Include the Houston nonprofits that you have contacted, but are out of financial assistance funds. ,
  • Lastly, provide them with the CDC Declaration Form (English, Spanish).

This alone should protect you from eviction but there have been landlords who preceded with efforts to evict despite these CDC guidelines. If your landlord is pushing for eviction the following legal assistance agencies can help you. 

Houston Apartment Association

One place that you can turn to for assistance if you feel that your landlord has violated your tenant rights is the Houston Apartment Association.

This housing advocate specializes in settling disputes between landlords and tenants.  The Houston Apartment Association can talk to you and provide guidance on what your legal rights are as a tenant. 

Editor’s note:  Houston Apartment Association can also help landlords to understand their rights and help with mediation when there is a disagreement with a tenant. 

If your landlord has violated your tenant rights they could be subject to legal action which can include civil penalties, punitive damages, attorney’s fees, etc

The Houston Apartment Association can listen to your situation and tell you if your landlord has violated your tenant rights and then provide you with options. 

Lone Star Legal Aid 

Lone Star Lega Aid is another resource to consult with if you have questions about your tenant rights. 

This Houston legal assistance agency offers legal advice from volunteer lawyers.

You can even find a tool called Stop TX Eviction which will help you understand your tenant rights, the eviction process, and potentially help you to avoid losing your apartment or home if you cannot pay rent. 

COVID-19 Lost Loved Ones Fund

If someone in your household passed away due to COVID-19 you could qualify for a program called the COVID-19 Lost Loved One Fund. 

This program is managed by Memorial Assistance Ministries and those families that qualify could received up to $3500 in funds for the loss of their family member.  

For more information about this program see our guided tiled How to apply for the COVID-19 Lost Loved One Fund

Conclusion

With rental assistance being so scarce right now it’s a good idea to know what actions you can take to avoid an eviction during the pandemic. 

If you cannot find rental assistance in Houston the steps you should take are: 

  1. Asking your employer if they offer financial assistance like Families First Act funding or voluntary payments
  2. Speaking to your landlord about your situation
  3. Reaching out to legal assistance agencies in Houston if your landlord is not willing to work with you

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Houston Case Managers

Nick Bryant is a Counselor with 11 years of experience working in community health. He enjoys concerts, walks with the doggo and wife, mocking Dallas Cowboy fans, and sharing community resources. Jump on the Houston Case Managers email list to receive weekly community resource guides delivered directly to your inbox.

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