Law School News

STCL Houston Partners with the Harris County Precinct One Constable’s Office to Provide Free Eviction Assistance for Houstonians

Houstonians facing eviction due to COVID-19 now have a new resource — an eviction response program — to assist them with legal and housing concerns.

As part of a new collaboration with the Harris County Precinct One Constable’s Office and the Eviction Defense Coalition — with funding from the Harris County Precinct One Foundation — South Texas College of Law Houston recently hired 10 of its graduates to provide pro bono legal assistance for individuals facing eviction.

Under the supervision of staff attorneys in the Randall O. Sorrels Legal Clinics, this eviction response team will help tenants determine whether the new CDC eviction moratorium applies to them and, if it does, help them comply with the moratorium guidelines.

Through this three-pronged initiative, the eviction response team will advise clients at special drive-thru stations, at static clinics set up in the community, and through an eviction response hotline.

In early November, STCL Houston President and Dean Michael F. Barry joined Harris County Precinct One Constable Alan Rosen in the Greenspoint area for a well-attended press conference prior to the program’s second drive-thru eviction prevention clinic.

Addressing numerous Houston-area TV and radio outlets, Barry said, “As president and dean of STCL Houston, it is a joy to see our graduates and staff attorneys living out the service-driven mission of our nearly 100-year-old law school. Through this valuable partnership with the Harris County Precinct One Constable’s Office — and local pro bono legal organizations, such as Lone Star Legal Aid — we have the opportunity to truly improve the lives of our neighbors and their families across the Houston region.

“This is why we exist as a law school… to produce well-educated, highly skilled attorneys with the talent and passion to make the world a better place. Working together, there is no limit to what we can accomplish through our zealous and compassionate efforts.”

At the event, Barry recognized STCL Houston Associate Dean Cathy Burnett and Eric Kwartler — supervising attorney in South Texas’ Landlord/Tenant Clinic — for their leadership over the past year advocating for illegally evicted tenants as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Barry also thanked Rosen and his team for their ongoing work in enhancing the lives of Harris County residents.

Following the press conference, more than 100 individuals — inhabiting rows and rows of cars — lined up for hours to receive legal assistance regarding their pending or potential evictions. Through the eviction response program, Houstonians can continue to receive much-needed legal guidance through additional drive-thru eviction-prevention clinics scheduled throughout 2020.