The Texas Access to Justice Foundation, or TAJF, one of the state’s largest funding sources for civil legal aid, has received a $20 million grant from the Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs, or TDHCA, for housing-related legal services.

“We are so grateful to receive this critical funding from TDHCA to help Texans dealing with housing insecurity that was exacerbated by the pandemic,” said Hon. Deborah Hankinson, TAJF chair and a retired Texas Supreme Court justice, in a press release.

The coronavirus pandemic has impacted hundreds of thousands of Texans unable to pay their rent, and this grant will allow legal aid organizations throughout Texas to provide a range of free civil legal services to eligible households at risk of losing their homes. Among the included services are representation in eviction proceedings in justice of the peace courts and eviction appeals in county courts that could help Texans remain stably housed.  

The funds are provided by the U.S. Treasury Department through the Emergency Rental Assistance Program, which was authorized under the Consolidated Appropriations Act in 2021. The foundation received funding last year from TDHCA for housing-related legal issues and more than 6,900 households in 155 counties received legal representation to assist them in maintaining housing from June 2021 through February 2022.  At 998 housing clinics, more than 8,400 households received assistance in applying for the Texas Rent Relief Program.

“The need for legal services remains great, and this grant will allow our legal aid organizations to continue providing critical housing-related services,” said Texas Supreme Court Justice Brett Busby, the court’s access to justice liaison, in a press release.

For more information on the Texas Access to Justice Foundation, go to tajf.org.

Will Korn

Will Korn is the assistant editor of the Texas Bar Journal. He has a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Texas at Austin and worked as a reporter for newspapers in Sidney, Neb., Midland, and Austin, as well as other online publications.