Linda Calhoun was supporting her three-year-old daughter on her salary from Luby’s, where she has worked for the last 14 years, with no help from the father. With the help of a roommate, Calhoun could pay all of her bills and live in a nice place close to work. However, like so many others, COVID-19 dealt Calhoun a heavy blow, leaving her suffering without any income to support herself and her child. At the beginning of the pandemic, Luby’s closed temporarily and both Calhoun and her roommate were left unemployed. Unable to pay the bills, Calhoun’s roommate moved out and she and her daughter were forced to try and survive solely on her unemployment benefits. Calhoun constantly found herself making the choice between paying rent or paying for food and essentials.
Worrying about the health of her young daughter, Calhoun did her best to keep her fed and clothed, falling behind on rent in the process. Having sympathy for her situation, her landlord was initially willing to work with her to make partial payments. Unfortunately, the partial payment arrangement fell through when new management came on board.
Eventually, Luby’s did re-open, but Calhoun’s hours had been reduced drastically. Although she was thankful to work again, she could no longer afford her apartment. Before she could find a new place to move into, her landlord had served her with a Notice to Vacate, and eventually followed up by filing an eviction petition.
Calhoun knew that an eviction on her record and a judgment would ruin her credit and make it even harder to find another apartment. She tried to ask her landlord if the eviction could be dropped if she just moved out, but they did not agree. She knew that she was quickly running out of options, so she contacted Lone Star Legal Aid.
An eviction hearing was held on August 10th by a virtual meeting. Calhoun was represented by Deborah Concepcion, the Managing Attorney for the Conroe Branch Office of Lone Star Legal Aid. Ms. Concepcion was able to successfully argue that Calhoun was not properly served with the Notice to Vacate. Ms. Conception also provided the Court and Landlord with a signed CDC Declaration. Many tenants are not aware of their rights and protections under the current CDC Order preventing eviction for nonpayment of rent and often find themselves convinced they have no choice but to comply. Calhoun was able to avoid eviction and a judgment on her credit report so that she could move on to more affordable housing.
If you or anyone you know is facing eviction, please visit http://www.stoptxeviction.org for detailed information surrounding the eviction process and renter’s rights. To apply for free legal services, contact Lone Star Legal Aid at 1 (800) 733 8394 or visit our website at http://www.lonestarlegal.org.
Lone Star Legal Aid is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit law firm focused on advocacy on behalf of low-income and underserved populations. Lone Star Legal Aid serves millions of people at 125% of federal poverty guidelines that reside in 72 counties in the eastern and Gulf Coast regions of Texas, and 4 counties of southwest Arkansas. Lone Star Legal Aid focuses its resources on maintaining, enhancing, and protecting income and economic stability; preserving housing; improving outcomes for children; establishing and sustaining family safety and stability, health and well‐being; and assisting populations with special vulnerabilities, including those who have disabilities, or who are elderly, homeless, or have limited English language skills. To learn more about Lone Star Legal Aid, visit our website at http://www.lonestarlegal.org.
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