Brownsville organization requesting state funding to keep rental assistance program

1 year 2 months 1 week ago Tuesday, February 07 2023 Feb 7, 2023 February 07, 2023 9:34 PM February 07, 2023 in News - Local

Evictions are on the rise in Cameron County, and a local organization that has helped keep people in their home has run out of funding.

Now, Come Dream, Come Build is turning to the state in hopes of continuing to help others.

According to Cameron County Precinct 2 Constable Abel Gomez, he's already served 59 eviction notices this year.

In 2022, 489 eviction notices were served.

“Now in 2023, it appears that we're on a schedule to outperform or have more evictions than last year,” Gomez said. 

Come Dream Come Build in Brownsville has helped hundreds of families avoid eviction ever since their emergency rental assistance program started in 2021.

Most of the people they helped lived in the southmost and downtown Brownsville area. The yearly income for residents there is around $28 to $33 thousand dollars. 

“What we're seeing is you have families that are kind of stuck in these situations where they're renting, they can't make that transition to homeownership,” Daniel Elkin, CDCB director of policy impact and innovation, said. “They can't save up the wealth to do it. Then you throw in an emergency."

According to the National Low Income Housing Coalition, in order to afford an average two-bedroom apartment in Brownsville, you need to make $22 dollars per hour. That's nearly $15 above minimum wage in Texas.

Since 2021, CDCB helped give out over $12 million dollars to people in Cameron County through the emergency rental assistance program.  They’ve sent letters to Valley state representatives about the housing crisis and are asking state lawmakers to pump more funding into rental assistance programs.

Cameron County's emergency rental assistance program only has about $400,000 left to distribute. The organization hopes the state will dip into its nearly $33 billion in surplus 

“Texas has this money, it's sitting there, “Elkin said. “There's an open discussion about what can we do with it. Well we know what they can do with it." 

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