On September 25, 2020, the Texas Supreme Court issued an emergency order that establishes the Texas Eviction Diversion Program. The release of the Court’s order coincided with Governor Greg Abbott’s public commitment to allocate funding from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act to be used for rental assistance and legal aid for tenants who are behind on their rent.
In a press release issued on September 25, Governor Greg Abbott announced the allocation of over $171 million in funding from the CARES Act which will primarily be used for targeted rental assistance for Texans at risk of becoming homeless due to eviction.
Out of these funds, $167 million will go to targeted rental assistance and $4.2 million will be allocated through the Texas Supreme Court to help the state’s legal aid providers and pro bono lawyers provide basic legal services to eligible Texans through this pandemic.
The Governor’s press release goes on to say that the funding will allow the Supreme Court of Texas, the Office of Court Administration, and the Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs (TDHCA) to work in partnership with local governments and non-profits and the newly created Texas Eviction Diversion Program to help renters stay in their homes, catch up on missed rental payments, and avoid an eviction on their records.
The Supreme Court’s order will become effective on October 12, 2020, for pilot counties prescribed by the Office of Court Administration, and on November 9, 2020, for all other counties. This order expires December 18, 2020, unless extended by the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court.