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Nueces County and City of Corpus Christi offering rental assistant programs

Federal Eviction moratorium end worries residents
Posted at 4:08 PM, Jul 30, 2021
and last updated 2021-07-30 17:08:52-04

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — The federal government’s pandemic-related eviction moratorium ends on Saturday, which is leaving many Corpus Christi residents concerned over how they will make rent.

Jerry Garcia, a resident of Corpus Christi, was applying on Thursday for the City of Corpus Christi’s rental assistance program at La Retama Library where residents can apply.

“I’m not a quitter, but at times it makes you feel like you’re hopeless. You don’t know what to do next,” Garcia said.

Jerry was evicted from his apartment where he lived for 10 years after a leg injury made it hard to work. He said the rental assistance program will help alleviate some of the stress that comes with being evicted and losing his job.

“Now these days we’re thinking every single day what’s going to happen? What’s the next thing? What’s around the corner? Is there another bill that’s coming up?” Garcia said.

Garcia said the staff at La Retama Library were helpful to him and he finds it worth it to apply.

“If you need the help go out and reach out. Don’t be embarrassed. They’re really willing to help out so it doesn’t hurt. If you don’t get help, at least you tried,” he said.

Nueces County is also offering a rental assistance program that residents can sign up for at La Retama Library. Nueces County Judge Barbara Canales said she hears stories similar to Garcia and Borrego’s often and said the county is planning on opening more sites where people can sign up for the program. She said in more rural areas they will be located at community centers.

“The biggest security blanket that we have is the roof over our head and in order to get people back on their feet, you got to re-establish that roof over their head,” Canales said.

Canales said the county will soon be rolling out a program that will assist people with paying their mortgage if they’ve struggled to pay it because of the pandemic.

The rental assistance program offered by the City of Corpus Christi and Nueces County are different, but share some similarities.

“We’re sharing the same application portal and we are using the same case management staff so although the funding is different, the partnership between the county and the city is making it easier for those who need assistance to apply through one portal and at one place,” Jennifer Buxton, the City of Corpus Christi’s assistant director of neighborhood services said.

Corpus Christi has been allotted $9.8 million for the rental assistance program.

While the federal moratorium ends on Saturday, Judge Henry Santana said the Texas Supreme Court extended the program until October 1, and tenants can apply if their landlord is a part of the program.

“They get up to 15 months back rent and forward rent in the future that is covered by that program,” Santana said.

However, even though she’s hopeful she’ll get accepted by the City of Corpus Christi’s program, making ends meet and paying rent has been an emotional journey for Criselda Borrego, who also lives in Corpus Christi. She lost her job due to the pandemic last March and is worried she will catch the virus if she returns to work.

“It’s hard you know. It’s really hard, especially when you have friends and family that you’ve lost because of it. So I just have…it’s kind of hard to want to go back to work and fear that you’re going to bring back something especially with the rise that’s been going on right now.” Borrego said with tears in her eyes.

You can catch the report on KRIS 6 Sunrise on Friday at 5 and 6 in the morning.