Before the coronavirus pandemic thrashed the country, Maria Ramirez and her husband made plenty of money to afford their modest two-bedroom apartment in northeast Dallas.
Now they owe more than $4,000 in back rent and late fees. They've lost work during the shutdown, have both been infected with COVID-19 and have applied for renter's assistance aid without success.
With tens of thousands of similar stories across North Texas, housing advocates at Dallas Area Interfaith, a nonprofit that advocates for working families, are worried that money set aside by the state and local governments to help people pay for housing is not reaching the most vulnerable and may be sent back to Washington because it wasn't spent by the Dec. 30 deadline.
The interfaith group estimates as much as $20 million of the city’s rental assistance programs, which first began in April, has not been spent.