For Immediate Release
On Tuesday, March 17, 2020, Faith in Texas and other members of the Communities United for a Greater Dallas Coalition petitioned Dallas city and county officials to establish a moratorium on all evictions and utility shut-offs for the duration of the COVID-19 crisis and 90 days thereafter.
Read the full letter below and add your signature here: bit.ly/covid19protection
Mayor Johnson and Judge Jenkins,
As members of Communities United for a Greater Dallas, we are requesting that all legal powers available to Dallas City and County effect a moratorium on evictions and utility disconnections for a period of up to 90-days following the end of the COVID-19 crisis.
We are aware that the specific time citizens are being asked to “shelter in place” in their homes is currently a moving target. During the duration of this crisis, and the months of economic hardship that will follow, we believe it is a moral and public health imperative that people’s homes and essential utilities are secure.
We compliment you both on your quick and clear leadership of our area, and specifically your calls for people to utilize intentional social distancing in stopping COVID-19. This de facto requires that people have secure homes where they can shelter and either remain healthy or recover to health. When our vulnerable communities are sure their home will be secure, they are less likely to work while sick or otherwise circumvent social distancing practices. Furthermore, many of our residents’ jobs will be impacted by layoffs, closures, etc. and will struggle to earn a paycheck during this time.
Evictions and utility disconnections put people at risk for either temporary or permanent homelessness, therefore making our public health situation far worse for both their families and the community.
The 90-day extension is necessary because many hourly workers, service workers, and those whose ability to earn a paycheck are impacted by this, will not have ready funds to catch up with bills on day one of the crisis ending. It would be cruel for a family to make it through the crisis, only to lose their housing while they are trying valiantly to catch up with their bills in the first months that follow.
The balance of justice and compassion is an essential part of the culture of Dallas. If we are to ask people to stay at home, we must do all we can to keep their homes safe.
We are aware that legal responsibility for evictions and utilities spans both the jurisdiction of city and county. This is why this letter is addressed to both of you. We would be happy to forward the letter or discuss this situation with any additional staff who might be helpful in seeing these steps taken.
In sum, we ask the following:
- An immediate moratorium on all home evictions and home utility disconnections.
- That this moratorium extends 90-days beyond such time as the request for persons to shelter at home ends.
Again, we appreciate your steady and calm leadership. We know you both have a heart for compassion and justice for all our citizens, and trust that you will take all appropriate measures to safeguard our community.
Communities United for a Greater Dallas