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Law School News

South Texas offers support for tenants at upcoming Keep Harris Housed event in Alief

Eric Kwartler, Public Interest Attorney in South Texas College of Law Houston’s Randall O. Sorrels Legal Clinics, and several of his law students will be providing guidance to area residents to help them avoid being evicted during a Keep Harris Housed outreach event Thursday, Sept. 30, in Alief.

Any tenant who is late on their rent, or worried they will soon be late on their rent, can attend for help applying for rental relief programs.

Kwartler’s students participating in STCL Houston’s Access to Justice-Landlord/Tenant Clinic recently assisted with several similar projects in the same week, helping process 456 applications for rental and recovery relief that helped nearly 1,400 Harris County residents. They were the only organization offering assistance applying for the Texas Rent Relief program, and they also assisted with applications for the Houston-Harris County Emergency Rental Assistance Program. 

At Thursday’s clinic in Alief, tenants do not have to have legal citizenship status to receive help; undocumented tenants may apply, Kwartler said. Assistance will be available for Harris County residents as well as Fort Bend County residents to apply for the Texas Rent Relief program or the Houston-Harris County Emergency Rental Assistance Program, as eligibility allows.

“There’s just an overwhelming need for this type of assistance, and applying can be complex and difficult,” Kwartler said. “Our law students love the opportunity to serve the community in this way, and it provides a tremendous learning experience for them as well.”

WHAT: Keep Harris Housed public outreach event

WHEN: Thursday, Sept. 30, 2021 from 3-7 p.m.

WHERE: The Bridge Church, 14880 Bellaire Blvd, Houston, TX 77083
WHY: To offer legal support to tenants in danger of being evicted, educate them on their rights and help them apply for emergency rental assistance.

HOSTED BY: The Keep Harris Housed coalition, comprised of member organizations including AFL-CIO Houston, South Texas College of Law, Lone Star Legal Aid, City of Houston Housing and Community Development, YMCA of Greater Houston, Houston Volunteer Lawyers, BakerRipley, Catholic Charities, and more.

DETAILS:

People seeking assistance should bring as many of the following documents as they can:

  • Proof of Identification (can be a foreign ID or passport if undocumented)
  • Copy of their lease
  • Proof of income (tax returns, pay stubs, etc.)
  • Proof of economic hardship due to COVID-19 (anything that shows decreased wages/increased expenses/inability to maintain financially)
  • Proof of housing instability (eviction notice, notice to vacate, etc.)

(Note that tenants can still get help even if they don’t have all of those documents.)

Volunteers will help tenants apply for rental assistance through state and local government programs. Attorneys will also be on hand to help tenants with legal questions.

Volunteers will have laptops, to help families in real-time, so their applications can be submitted as fast as possible.