In late August, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) put in place a moratorium to help keep renters in their homes by not allowing landlords to evict people who are covered under the moratorium.
Citizens protected under the eviction freeze must be behind of their rent despite actively applying for other government housing programs in the area. Another requirement is being unable to pay full rent or make a full housing payment due to a major loss of income, layoffs, fewer work hours, or medical expenses that will most likely amount to more than 7.5 percent of the person’s adjusted gross income. Household income in 2020 may be as high as $99,000 or $198,000 for tax returns filed jointly.
If accepted, they will be given a certificate to present to the landlord.
Unfortunately, this moratorium is scheduled to end on December 31, 2020, leaving those sheltered under this program worried about where they will live. The CDC can extend or shorten the date on which the moratorium will expire.
However, there are some City and County resources that are available now and will continue to accept new clients after the moratorium expires.
The City of Irving Rental, Mortgage, and Homelessness Assistance is provided under the umbrella of the Community and Development Department. In order to apply, the applicant and his or her family must live in the City of Irving and be able to provide proof of residence, information about family members living at the residence, proof of income and a valid form of identification, such as a Texas driver’s license, passport or birth certificate that proves that the head of household is a U.S. Citizen or Legal Resident.
In addition, the applicant must provide birth certificates for all minor children and documentation of hardship due to COVID-19. For assistance with rent, a copy of the current lease or a late or eviction notice must be submitted. For mortgage assistance, a copy of the most recent mortgage statement is required.
If the applicant is homeless, the Homelessness Assistance Form available on the City website must be filled out.
For more information on any of these programs, visit CityOfIrving.org.
However, this program is not full of sunshine and roses according to Pat O'Reilly, Board President of Many Helping Hands in Irving, who also works on the Homelessness Task Force.
“Me, Shelia Slade [from Many Helping Hands], and Steve [Allen, Pastor of Christ Church in Irving] and about 15 other people are on the Homelessness Task Force. We met last night, and Steve, who is in contact with Austin Street, said there’s just no way to prepare for the evictions that are happening, if they do go through.
“I just got an email from a friend of mine who is a writer for the Dallas Morning News and he just sent me a letter from the City of Dallas saying that they’re now going to allow “tent cities.” To me, that’s the least somebody needs to do.
“The letter spells out that they’re going to provide bathrooms and hand washing facilities. We provide portable showers in Irving every Tuesday, and that will continue. But we’re talking about [potentially] thousands of people.
“According to City Council, we have 45 people that are homeless on the streets. We know there are more than 150 people living on the streets. According to [the meeting] last night, we’re actually looking at number jumping up to 400 – 500 people.
“The City has continued to turn their back on the homeless community, basically saying that Irving doesn’t have homeless, so we don’t care. I attended a City Council meeting where one member said, ‘If we provide more services, then we will have more [homeless] people.’ Our comeback was, ‘They’re already here.’
“The City of Denton is light years ahead of us. When COVID hit, they provided handwashing stations wherever the homeless were. So, we went and petitioned for Irving to do that and we fought for it and finally got one. It was up for about two months and then somebody stole it, and the City declared they weren’t going to do anything else.
“The City gets all kinds of federal funds to help the homeless. If they don’t use those funds, that money can go to Parks and Recreation. So, they improve a park in South Irving and tell the government that they’re helping the poor.
“We need five councilmen to be pro-homeless, and right now, we have four.”
If the Moratorium does expire on December 31, three to four times the number of the current homeless population is expected to influx each local city.
The Task Force is looking toward corporations with a heart for the homeless to sponsor/donate to the cause, as donations is what they need to "keep the doors open."
Corporations that may be interested in supporting the Homeless Task Force can email Steve Allen at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 682-583-3302; Dennis Webb at email@example.com or 972-849-9421; or Ruby Sevcik (Executive Director at Crisis Ministries) at firstname.lastname@example.org or 972-891-8783.
Thank you in advance for having a heart for the homeless. They are still human beings, and we all know how COVID has affected jobs, income and health, both for tenants AND landlords.