By Bethany Blankley

Texans will receive an additional allocation of more than $167 million in federal rental assistance made available by Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act funding.

Out of the CARES Act funds, $167 million will go towards rental assistance and $4.2 million will be allocated through the Texas Supreme Court to help state legal aid providers and pro bono lawyers who are working to keep eligible Texans in their homes.

The funding will allow the Supreme Court of Texas, the Office of Court Administration, and the Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs (TDHCA) to work in partnership with local governments and non-profits to help keep the most vulnerable Texans in their homes.

Gov. Greg Abbott also announced the creation of the Texas Eviction Diversion Program, which was designed to help renters stay in their homes, catch up on missed rental payments, and avoid an eviction on their records.

The program was created to help families stay in their homes who are facing evictions due to not being able to pay their rent after losing their jobs after the governor shut down the state in March. The funds are targeted to help renters who are deemed as being at the greatest risk of becoming homeless, to give them time to catch up on rental payments, if possible.

The program was also created to help courts deal with a backlog of eviction filings, reduce the number of filings, and help courts prioritize cases.

"Judges across Texas have a duty to ensure that justice is delivered in a timely, fair, and impartial way,” Texas Supreme Court Chief Justice Nathan L. Hecht said in a statement. “In times like these, sometimes that means that we search for creative ways to meet the needs of landlords and tenants.”

The Texas Judiciary welcomes the opportunity “to provide a way for tenants to stay in their homes and ensure that landlords are made whole," he added.

A national eviction moratorium went into effect Sept. 1 and lasts through Dec. 31. It prohibits evictions from being carried out against all 43 million rental households in the U.S. regardless of where they live.

The moratorium requires tenants who fall behind on rent to submit a declaration to their landlord stating they've lost income because of the coronavirus and have made an effort to look for financial assistance, in addition to other conditions.

The moratorium was issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention under a federal code established in in 1944.

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