SAN ANTONIO – With a U.S. Supreme Court decision putting an end to a federal moratorium on evictions, San Antonio officials hope rental assistance programs could help lessen what some have feared could be a wave of new evictions.
“We are hopeful that the tidal wave is at least a little bit less for San Antonio, based on our efficacy in issuing the rental assistance that we have had,” said Sara Wamsley, the housing policy administrator at the City fo San Antonio’s Neighborhood & Housing Services Department.
The city’s Emergency Rental Assistance Program has been helping struggling families keep up with their rent and utility bills since the early days of the pandemic. Even now, it still has $42 million available for which city and county residents can apply and, depending on their income, get help with up to nine months’ worth of bills. The Texas Rent Relief Program also has money available for renters.
For nearly a year, federal moratoriums have generally protected people who are behind on their rent from being evicted for that reason. Evictions for other reasons, such as violations of a lease, have been able to go forward.
With the moratorium out of the way, though, Bexar County Precinct 2 Justice of the Peace Roberto “Robbie” Vazquez still doesn’t think there will be a huge swell of eviction cases for non-payment.
“There’s still so much money and rent relief that is there to be accessed that I think that both parties are going to try and do what they can to access those funds,” Vazquez said.
The city has placed staff at each of the justice of the peace courts to ensure renters and landlords going through the eviction process know about EHAP. The landlords’ participation is crucial, as they have to agree to accept the money, which is paid directly to them.
Wamsley said the vast majority of landlords agree to take the payment.
“We’ve had a lot of them refer other tenants to us even before they get to filing. So that’s been really successful,” Wamsley said.
The program only works if people apply to it, though.
“I think we can be spared a lot of it if the public is aware that this assistance is available,” said District 7 Councilwoman Ana Sandoval, whose office, along with District 5 Councilwoman Teri Castillo, is hosting a “one-stop-shop” clinic on Saturday for residents who need housing, legal, or utilities assistance. (Information below)
CITY EHAP APPLICATION
City and county residents can both apply to the the city’s Emergency Housing Assistance Program (EHAP) for help paying their rent and utilities.
The assistance is available for up to 6 or 9 months, depending on your income level at the time, and it can be used for back rent.
ASSISTANCE CLINIC ON SATURDAY
District 5 Councilwoman Teri Castillo and District 7 Councilwoman Ana Sandoval are hosting a “one-stop-shop” clinic Saturday for housing, legal, and utilities assistance.
The city’s Neighborhood Housing and Services Department will be there, as will the following: SAWS, CPS Energy, Texas RioGrande Legal Aid, the San Antonio Food Bank, and St. Mary’s University School of Law.
The clinic will be held from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at St. Mary’s University Bill Greehey Arena, located at 1 Camino Santa Maria, 78228.
Residents are asked to bringthe following:
- A signed copy of your lease, CPS, SAWS, and internet bills
- ID card issued by a government, such as a state ID, passport, or Social Security (Government IDs from outside the United States are acceptable)
- A demonstration of hardship such as a notice of unemployment, eviction notice, check stubs that show a loss in hours
- Proof of income for the last 2 months, such as bank statement, check stub, Social Security Award Letter, SNAP or SSI
- Contact information for the landlord, such as their name, phone number, and email