A Review of HRI’s Rental Assistance Program, 2020

The City of Dallas launched a new CARES Act Coronavirus Relief Fund (CRF) Emergency Short Term Rental Assistance Program in partnership with DHA, Housing Solutions for North Texas (DHA) and several local nonprofits, including the United Way of Metropolitan Dallas collaborative, Human Rights Initiative, Voice of Hope and Refugee Services of Texas.

Under the terms of the grant, HRI was able to serve its clients and people referred by Workers Defense Project, Mosaic Family Services, and RAICES, who lacked work authorization, lived in the City of Dallas, and who were unable to make rental payments because of health or economic impacts of COVID-19.

HRI’s resilient clients have faced human rights violations and due to their legal status do not qualify for any direct federal assistance. A* (name withheld for privacy purposes) contracted the virus a few months ago and was in a dire situation.

Being a single mother, I can’t wait for someone to come and cover these expenses after being out of work for three, almost four, weeks without a salary and relying on a salary of less than 40 hours or without working for a few days. (A*, HRI client)

Not only did A* had to stop working but the virus spread through her family. HRI was not only able to provide A* with rental assistance but also groceries and toiletries. HRI distributed $200,000 in rental aid.

The program closed this month, and in total 95 eligible households received rent payments exhausting the funds allotted. This aid was essential in providing a bit of stability to families who otherwise risked losing their housing and other essentials due to the ongoing pandemic.  Nearly 100% of clients or community referral we screened had been dangerously impacted by COVID-19 due to temporary or permanent job loss, reduced wages, infection by the virus, and increased household costs. We’re thankful to the City of Dallas for the opportunity to provide this lifesaving aid. Many families had to make significant sacrifices to survive these last several months, and they expressed to us what a big relief this assistance provided for their current situation. (Elisabeth Hagberg, HRI’s Housing Specialist)

Hagberg worked through our Social Services program. In just September, she processed over $30,000 in rental checks!

Elisabeth is a lifesaver for our clients during this pandemic. And has done an amazing job serving clients from our partners at RAICES, WDP and Mosaic. (Elisandra De La Cruz, Social Services Director)

HRI is honored to have partnered with the City of Dallas, and proud of Elisabeth and our Social Services team.

…all that is left is for us to do is have faith and wait for a miracle and pray to God that he sends us a cure to this horrible sickness, that the doctors can find a vaccine that can help us get our jobs back and be able to improve the lives of our families. (A*, HRI client)

P.S. It’s HRI’s 20th Anniversary! Generous donors have offered to match the first $5,000 raised in celebration. If you can, help us end the year on a high note.

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