According to a recent US Census Weekly Pulse Survey, over 68,000 North Texas rental households feared they will face eviction within the next two months. And over 229,000 households had no or low confidence that they will be able to make next month’s rental payment. Sadly, the vast majority of respondents are households with children.
These results, in addition to research from the Eviction Lab at Princeton University and Child Poverty Action Lab, signal the significant community risks ahead as the Center for Disease Control’s moratorium on evictions nears its current expiration date on June 30. The Texas Supreme Court’s 34th Emergency Order adopted the moratorium and added state rules, but that state order expired on March 31 and has not been extended, allowing courts in Texas to proceed with evictions. The eviction filing rate in Dallas County has already started to rise.
The consequences of housing disruption are significant, particularly for children, and we believe it is critical to provide community support to minimize evictions. Historically, eviction proceedings are stacked against tenants: 90 percent of landlords are represented by legal counsel but fewer than 10 percent of tenants have representation. However, based on eviction pilots in seven cities across the country, providing tenants with legal representation results in better outcomes for the tenant, increasing the likelihood that they can stay in their homes and communities.
Historically, eviction proceedings are stacked against tenants: 90 percent of landlords are represented by legal counsel in evictions, but fewer than 10 percent of tenants have representation.
In response to this impending crisis and in partnership with several of our fundholders, The Dallas Foundation is deploying approximately $50,000 toward eviction legal defense and eviction settlement funds. This investment aligns with the Foundation’s strategic focus on ensuing a strong and healthy start in life for children ages birth to 3, for whom an eviction can be traumatizing and leave a lasting impact. Studies show that children who experience housing instability tend to have lower vocabulary skills, have a harder time keeping up with good grades, and, later in life, may have higher rates of school drop-out and lower economic mobility.
We have also reactivated our COVID-19 Fund to accept additional contributions to support our efforts to help families remain in their homes.
If you want to learn more about our response to the eviction crisis or want to get involved, please reach out to Julie Diaz, Chief Partnerships Officer.