McALLEN, Texas (KVEO) — An eviction moratorium from Centers for Disease Control is set to expire at the end of the month, potentially leaving hundreds of Americans homeless.
A representative from a local shelter says they are close to capacity, but do have a plan b if evictions spike.
“We can’t exceed the capacity while maintaining safety, and that’s our biggest concern,” Lieutenant Adolf Aguirre, Hidalgo County Salvation Army commanding officer said.
Normally, the Salvation Army shelter in McAllen can hold 150 people. But because of COVID-19, they can only hold 40.
“We do have an overflow,” Aguirre said. “We’re trying to make sure we don’t exceed capacity. If they come in at night we process them for that night but we’ll start working to find somewhere else for them to stay the next day.”
With the CDC’s order to pause evictions expiring at the end of the month, millions are at risk of homelessness.
“We’re talking about — a best estimate little high estimate — 14 million at risk of eviction, which it was predictable it was going to be high,” South Texas Economist Teo Sepulveda said.
Locally, Sepulveda estimates 400 to 600 families are facing eviction– which he says is a surprising because it’s close to what it was last year.
“Despite the pandemic, the valley has been doing fairly well relative to everyone else in the nation in making sure not that many people suffer evictions,” Sepulveda said.
But until the workforce returns to normal, he says the best way to keep families on their feet is additional relief funding.
“We don’t have enough economic activity — for perfectly justifiable reasons,” he said. “So, the best idea is to not stop — not just get another stimulus check — but not stop until we come back to a regular trend.”
Once evictions do resume, Aguirre fears shelters will be overwhelmed. The backup plan is to contact the local health department to convert facilities into additional shelters.
For those facing eviction in Hidalgo County, the Salvation Army is offering emergency rental assistance.