AUSTIN, Texas — The state's largest funding source for civil legal aid has received an additional $20 million from the Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs to continue the Emergency Rental Assistance Program.
The Texas Access to Justice Foundation (TAJF) was awarded the first $20 million in August 2021 to help Texans access legal services for housing issues they experienced during the COVID-19 pandemic. According to the TAJF, the Emergency Rental Assistance Program provides legal information and representation to Texans so they can obtain or maintain housing.
The additional $20 million awarded to the TAJF will fund a second year of the program’s legal services through Aug. 31, 2024.
“Since 2021, the Emergency Rental Assistance Program has provided legal services and housing stability clinics to thousands of Texans across the state,” said TAJF Executive Director Betty Balli Torres. “The program’s work to keep Texans housed plays a vital role in our mission. With these funds, we can continue helping current and future generations of Texans.”
The TAJF said the funds will provide a full range of free civil legal services to Texans in eligible households who are at risk of losing their homes or who were previously unable to pay their rent. Those services include representation in eviction proceedings in justice of the peace courts, eviction appeals in county court and housing stability clinics.
TAJF said following the initial round of funding, it assisted more than 11,000 households through legal services.
"These funds are crucial as civil legal aid is a vital component of the public response to and recovery from the current housing crisis,” Torres said. “Legal aid is a safety net that keeps our fellow Texans from going over the edge. Without it, they might never recover even when the economy improves.”
For more information or to access legal help with housing issues, click here.
The TAJF is the primary state-based funding source for the provision of civil legal aid in Texas. The organization, created by the Supreme Court of Texas in 1984, "is committed to the vision that all Texans will have equal access to justice, regardless of their income."
TAJF administers a variety of funding sources to assist nonprofits in providing legal aid to approximately 100,000 Texas families each year.
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