Workshop held to help Dallas County renters, landlords with rental assistance

A workshop on Tuesday for renters and landlords covered the mounds of money available for people behind on their rent after losing wages because of the pandemic.

The two groups stood side by side in a place where they are typically squared off with a landlord evicting a tenant: in a justice of the peace courtroom.

Dallas County Judge Thomas G. Hoines says his largest docket is still evictions. Some weeks, he has as many as 250. So he's trying to do something to stop it.

Resources were brought in to help landlords and tenants impacted by the pandemic with rental assistance.

"We brought our people on sight," said Candy Jackson with Harmony Community Development Corporation. "We're trying to make it as easy as possible for you to connect with these resources."

The workshop happened because of what Judge Jones is seeing in his justice of the peace court.

"The number of evictions. But more so, it’s the plight that families are having," he said.

A plight legal aid says it’s growing.

"It hasn’t been Armageddon yet, but it’s getting up there," said K'Lisha Rutledge, managing attorney legal aid for the Northwest Texas Home Preservation Program. "There are more eviction filings than usual, so I think we are at that time that area where evictions are gonna come rolling in." 

The city of Dallas has formed a rental assistance collaborative, bringing all city rental assistance programs to one place.

"Our partners can now assist with rental assistance up to 15 months," explained Chara McGill with United Way Metropolitan Dallas. "That’s months of owed old rent as well as to help you get up on your feet."

Tambia Morgan got on-site application assistance.

"I’m so glad that we do have different programs and different entities all here who are able to help us. It’s a great thing," she said.

"Rental assistance, alongside utility assistance and also address relocation charges," explained Ganesh Shivaramaiyer with Dallas County.

Errol Saunders rents properties across the county. For him, the workshop is good.

"Rent relief has helped me quite a bit with some of my tenants," he said. "I think everybody here is benefiting from it because you know when you're gonna get your money or you have an idea when it’s coming."

Apartment manager Griselda Marquez gathered information to help residents who are in trouble.

"And we want to have the resources on hand to go ahead and help them with their eviction or find somewhere if they need to go somewhere else," she said.

One big difference is the Texas Rental Assistance Program is taking as long as three months to get payments to landlords and apartments,

The city of Dallas and Dallas County are able to get payments out in under 30 days. In most instances, 7 to 14 days, and there’s about $60 million available for rent relief.