CAMERON COUNTY, Texas (KVEO) – The Come Dream Come Build (CDCB) housing assistance program in Cameron county released a study that shows that Cameron county has a higher eviction filings percentage compared to the national average.  

Grant providing free legal aid for tenants facing eviction

Researchers at the CDCB say this is a systemic problem and not a new issue.  

Source: Come Dream Come Build

“It’s been found to increase the likelihood of unemployment, depression, high blood pressure, childhood trauma and poor academic achievement,” said Caelan Mitchell-Bennett, CDCB policy fellow. “And all those things are comorbidities that the Valley has been facing forever.”

Bennett says the pandemic caused an influx of 122 filings for evictions in August for Cameron county, and found more data showing housing instability from the past two years.    

“We found numbers going back two years that showed that almost two families have been threatened with eviction a day for the past two years,” said Bennett.   

Bennett says that an “eviction filing” is the threat of eviction – not an actual eviction. 

Zoraima Diaz-Pineda from the CDCB says 1-in-3 cities nationally do not have proper eviction data, making it harder to track the issue and find a solution.   

Over $5 million in renters assistance in the RGV scheduled to expire due to lack of applicants

“Because in the community that we serve, families are more than likely to take in another family member, a sister, a brother—who’ve been displaced from their own housing so it’s not going to be something that is extremely visible,” said Pineda.  

Pineda says wages have not gone up since the ’70s and the average cost to rent a two-bedroom, 1-bathroom apartment in the Rio Grande Valley is $760 a month  

“And in order to afford that apartment and not spend more than thirty percent of your total income for housing, you need to make $14.62 an hour,” said Pineda. “The average renter—the average person who rents in Cameron county—currently makes $9.14 an hour.”  

The CDCB says this is an ongoing issue and are working to find solutions.

If you are looking for rental assistance and were financially affected by COVID-19, click here