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Persistence pays off for landlord waiting on rent relief

For a year, Connie Cases was in a tough situation. But in mid-May, she finally got the money she needed.

HARRIS COUNTY, Texas — It was a true test of patience for a north Harris County landlord trying to collect on rent. For a year, Connie Cases was in a catch-22 situation. In mid-May, she finally got the money.

“I was at the point of giving up,” Cases said. “I didn’t think the state of Texas was going to come through. I got paid.”

Cases and her husband make a living through an automotive accessory shop and three rental houses. The property is located in north Harris County near the Hardy Toll Road and Aldine Westfield.

When one of her renters lost his job at the end of December 2020, they both applied for rent help with Texas Rent Relief. The program is run by the Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs.

“The rent relief paid us for the five months and told us we could be approved for more funding,” Cases said.

But that second round of rent relief never happened and that put Cases in landlord limbo. She wanted to evict.

“The judge is like, 'No, you can’t evict them if you’re going through any kind of assistance through Harris County or the state,'" she said. "You cannot evict your tenant or you won’t get paid.”

But help didn’t seem to be coming for Cases.

Her tenant, Scott Helton, was frustrated, too.

“Every month it was on time you know until everything fell apart,” Helton said.

When he lost his job during the pandemic, he thought Texas Rent Relief would pay a second time. By April, Cases was fed up and took Helton back to court. There was paperwork to fill out and the judge explained the process to start the eviction.

That's when everything changed.

“The day of I was going to give them another eviction I got an email from the Texas Rent Relief asking for more forms. I submitted them that day and they told me I was approved the following day,” Cases said.

Fast forward a couple of weeks and Cases got $12,000 in rent money. She urged other landlords in similar situations to not give up.

“I would keep pushing,” Cases said. “I called every day and everybody tells you something different. Thank you for following the story. I just hope it does help other people.”

In March 2022, Texas Rent Relief received additional funding to the tune of $47.8 million from the U.S. Treasury Department. New applications are not being accepted. TRR is processing applications already in the system.

The Houston-Harris County Emergency Rental Assistance Program also got almost $27 million additional dollars to help renters. The local fund is accepting applications for renters with active case or cause numbers.

Application information and resources for Harris County and Houston residents can be found at houstonharrishelp.org.

If you’re facing eviction anywhere in Texas, there’s free legal advice and resources available here or call 1- 855-270-7655.

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