Fears Swirl in Houston as Texas Lifts Its Eviction Moratorium

The Texas Supreme Court halted that state's eviction proceedings on March 19, a move hailed by Republican Gov. Greg Abbott as a "lifeline to many Texans who are beginning to feel the economic impact of COVID-19." 

That lifeline was particularly critical for Houston, the country's fourth-largest city, where a local economy largely dependent on a suddenly flagging petroleum industry was left reeling: Between April 1 and May 2, Houston Public Media reported, more than 180,000 Houston area residents filed unemployment claims.  

We're really worried, we think it's going to be really bad," says Sapna Aiyer, an attorney with Lone Star Legal Aid.

This month, as the moratorium was expiring, Lone Star Legal Aid fielded calls from around 160 tenants who were facing eviction or had other issues with their landlord, such as cut-off utilities, up from around 60 such calls in April. The organization also set up the Texas Eviction HELP Project, which includes a self-help legal guide for tenants.

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