Hidalgo, Turner request eviction moratorium be extended through Aug. 24

While the Texas Supreme Court's 15th Emergency Order issued May 14 allowed residential eviction proceedings to resume statewide beginning May 19 following a two-month hiatus, the order does not require those proceedings to resume. (Community Impact Newspaper staff)
While the Texas Supreme Court's 15th Emergency Order issued May 14 allowed residential eviction proceedings to resume statewide beginning May 19 following a two-month hiatus, the order does not require those proceedings to resume. (Community Impact Newspaper staff)

While the Texas Supreme Court's 15th Emergency Order issued May 14 allowed residential eviction proceedings to resume statewide beginning May 19 following a two-month hiatus, the order does not require those proceedings to resume. (Community Impact Newspaper staff)

In hopes of avoiding a new wave of homelessness plaguing Harris County—which is already in the midst of a global pandemic and skyrocketing unemployment claims—Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner and Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo have requested all justices of the peace countywide to postpone eviction hearings until late August.

While the Texas Supreme Court's 15th Emergency Order issued May 14 allowed residential eviction proceedings to resume statewide beginning May 19 following a two-month hiatus, the order does not require those proceedings to resume. Instead, the order authorizes each judge to modify or suspend deadlines and procedures until as late as Sept. 30 at his or her own discretion.

"We have worked hard to urge residents to stay at home and social distance as much as possible. But without a home to go to, families cannot social distance and we place many more at risk to their health," Hidalgo and Turner wrote in a June 3 statement to Judge Eric William Carter, the Harris County justice of the peace for Precinct 1, Place 1. "We remain very concerned that pursuing eviction proceedings will contribute to a wave of homelessness that would be catastrophic to the health and safety of the families involved and of the community at large."

In addition, at the federal level the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act established a temporary eviction moratorium for housing with federally backed mortgages as well as some low-income housing, which is not set to expire until July 25. As landlords must provide tenants with a 30-day notice to vacate the property before taking action, this means eviction proceedings for tenants protected under the CARES Act cannot take place until Aug. 24 at the earliest. However, only 509 properties in Harris County are covered under the federal provision.

"As Harris County Judge and Mayor of the City of Houston, we urge you to use your discretion to extend to your cases the same allowances for tenants that are under the CARES Act," the statement reads. "Within your discretion, we call on you to formally commit to postponing evictions hearings filed after March 27 until Aug. 24, in line with the CARES Act timeline. Doing so is not only the right thing to do given the current crises, but will contribute to our effort to protect public health and eliminate confusion surrounding the Federal eviction moratorium."


Hany Khalil, the executive director of the Texas Gulf Coast Area Labor Federation, lauded the action as area unions, too, renewed their call for Harris County justices of the peace to suspend eviction proceedings through July 24.


"Thank you Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo and Mayor Sylvester Turner for joining calls from unions and housing advocates for an eviction moratorium in Harris County," Khalil said in a statement. "Our justices of the peace have the constitutional authority to delay eviction proceedings, and the moral responsibility to ensure no one loses their home because of COVID-19.”

The request comes the same day Hidalgo and Turner were expected to announce the formation of an Eviction Prevention & Housing Stability Task Force dedicated to helping families avoid eviction while addressing long-term barriers to affordable housing. The announcement, however, has since been postponed until further notice.
By Hannah Zedaker
Born and raised in Cypress, Texas, Hannah Zedaker graduated from Sam Houston State University in 2016 with a bachelor's degree in mass communication and a minor in political science. She began as an intern with Community Impact Newspaper in 2015 and was hired upon graduation as a reporter for The Woodlands edition in May 2016. In January 2019, she was promoted to serve as the editor of the Spring/Klein edition where she covers Spring ISD and Harris County Commissioners Court, in addition to business, development and transportation news.


MOST RECENT

The show is making a stop at Sam Houston Race Park this December. (Courtesy UniverSoul Circus)
Cy-Fair hosts events and more Houston-area news

Read the latest business and community news from the Houston area.

The Houston Northwest Chamber of Commerce has relocated to a new Houston location. (Courtesy Houston Northwest Chamber of Commerce)
Houston Northwest Chamber of Commerce relocates to new Houston office

Bobby Lieb, president and CEO of the chamber, said he was already looking for a new space for the chamber before the coronavirus pandemic.

Houston residents can apply for $1,200 stimulus-style checks. (Courtesy Fotolia)
Houston residents can get $1,200 in aid and more popular area stories

Read the past week's most popular stories from the Houston area.

Doug Hooten was announced as the first executive director of Harris County Emergency Services District No. 11 on Dec. 3. (Courtesy Harris County Emergency Services District No. 11)
Harris County Emergency Services District No. 11 hires first executive director

Doug Hooten has 35 years of experience in EMS, according to a Dec. 3 press release.

Tumble 22, an Austin-based eatery, opened in Vintage Park at 10723 Louetta Road, Houston, on Dec. 2. (Courtesy Tumble 22)
Tumble 22 now serving up Nashville hot chicken in Vintage Park

Inspired by Nashville hot chicken, the new restaurant's menu offers chicken tender bites, jumbo chicken tenders, chicken sandwiches and bone-in chicken with five heat level options, from "Wimpy" to "Cluckin' Hot."

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott announced Dec. 2 that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has allotted 1.4 million doses of the COVID-19 vaccines to the state of Texas. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
First allotment of COVID-19 vaccinations expected to arrive in Texas in mid-December

About 1.4 million doses of the COVID-19 vaccines have been allotted to the state of Texas and will arrive the week of Dec. 14.

The East Montgomery County Industrial Park off Gene Campbell Road will welcome the Lowe's Distribution Center in July. (Courtesy East Montgomery County Improvement District)
Lowe's to bring 200 jobs to Montgomery County and more Houston-area news

Read the latest Houston-area business and community news.

Harris County has launched a tool to allow homeowners to identify appraisal activity in their neighborhood. (Courtesy Pexels)
Harris County Appraisal District launches new 'Appraiser Field Operations Map' tool

Harris County has launched a tool to allow homeowners to identify appraisal activity in their neighborhood.

The letter came a week after Longoria was virtually sworn into the office by Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo on Nov. 18. (Screenshot via Zoom)
Harris County scrambles to make creation of Elections Administrator Office lawful after Attorney General's letter identifies deficiencies

Harris County is working to make right the appointment of Isabel Longoria as the county's first-ever elections administrator after County Attorney Vince Ryan received a letter Nov. 25 from Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton stating that the county did not follow the proper appointment process.

Gwen Sims first joined Harris County Public Health in 1997. (Courtesy Harris County Public Health)
Deputy Director Gwen Sims appointed interim executive director of Harris County Public Health

Harris County Commissioners Court unanimously appointed Gwen Sims to serve as the interim executive director of Harris County Public Health in anticipation of Executive Director Umair Shah's departure Dec. 18.

Hewlett Packard Enterprise
Hewlett Packard Enterprise to relocate headquarters from Silicon Valley to Springwoods Village

Hewlett Packard Enterprise announced Dec. 1 plans to relocate its headquarters from San Jose, California to a brand new campus in the Greater Houston area, which is under construction in CityPlace at Springwoods Village.