SAHA eviction moratorium coming to an end Feb. 28

More than 4,000 families are facing possible eviction by the end of the month

SAN ANTONIO – Throughout this pandemic, we’ve heard about housing concerns from our local communities, and on Feb. 28, San Antonio Housing Authority’s eviction moratorium will be coming to an end. More than 4,000 families face possible eviction by the end of the month.

“I’m going to be living on faith real soon. Like, my job is coming to an end real soon,” Gabriela Garcia said after applying for rental assistance.

Many wonder how they’ll pay back past due rent, like Patricia Mesch, who’s had to help her family deal with COVID-19 cases multiple times. She is also dealing with complications from knee surgery, which has kept her out of work.

“All I’m doing now is trying to focus and stay positive and pushing myself, so I can get back to work, so I don’t have to keep looking for help out there,” Mesch said.

Since March 2020, before the start of the federal eviction moratorium, SAHA has given its tenants a break. The moratorium has been extended five times now, but no more.

“We were trying to balance, you know, what the community is doing, what other utility companies are doing. We said it’s time,” said Brandee Perez, chief operating officer of SAHA.

SAHA residents owe almost $5 million in back rent.

SAHA has broken it down by district. Districts 2 and 8 lead the pack with $1.1 million and $880,000 owed, respectively.

“I’m going to encourage people to not get too alarmed,” said Councilman Manny Pelaez, who represents District 8.

Pelaez said he wants to calm fears and assure people there won’t be mass evictions at the end of the month.

“But there will be a day where people are going to be expected to stay current with their rent. Because what we got right now -- not sustainable,” he said.

On Tuesday, SAHA worked alongside the city to help people apply for rental assistance.

Perez said they don’t want anyone to lose their homes. They’ll help people apply for assistance or start a repayment plan. Those in need just need to take the first step.

“Our goal is not to evict our families. Our goal is to keep them housed, but they have to communicate,” Perez said.

To apply for the city’s Emergency Housing Assistance Program, click here. Do so quickly because the deadline to apply is March 1. After that, no more applications will be accepted because of funding availability.

About the Authors

Leigh Waldman is an investigative reporter at KSAT 12. She joined the station in 2021. Leigh comes to San Antonio from the Midwest after spending time at a station in Omaha, NE. After two winters there, she knew it was time to come home to Texas. When Leigh is not at work, she enjoys eating, playing with her dogs and spending time with family.

Joe Arredondo is a photojournalist at KSAT 12.

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