Acting on stories they heard in outreach efforts around church neighborhoods, 70 leaders from 10 member institutions of TMO convened a Saturday morning press conference to call on landlords to grant a three-week (minimum) grace period for renters in the area and across Harris County.
TMO leaders report that pastors are afraid of evictions for not being able to pay rent, due to a week without work caused by Hurricane Harvey. This loss of income is devastating to families and evictions will exacerbate financial hardships and instability during this recovery period.
Fr. Ed Gomez of San Pablo Episcopal Church and his members have visited ten surrounding apartment complexes to urge landlords for grace periods, but not all landlords have agreed. If mortgage companies can give lenders 90 days to get back on their feet, leaders argue, then surely landlords can give at least two weeks.
TMO called on the Mayor and Council to urge landlords not to exploit community members when all are recovering from the unprecedented storm together. Leaders also called on Mayor Turner and Judge Emmitt to create a public works strategy that will hire people who are unemployed to do the massive cleanup that is needed.
Some Apartment Dwellers Face Post-Harvey Eviction, Houston Chronicle
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Storm Woes Can Make it Tough For Many to Pay the Rent On Time, Houston Chronicle [pdf]