by Kristian Hernández
“FORT WORTH, Texas — On the morning of April 8, landlord Margarita Palacios went before a Tarrant County, Texas, judge via Zoom and tried to explain why she wanted to evict a tenant who owed $4,350 in back rent.
“Palacios, representing The Palace apartments, began to explain, “We sent her links to rental assistance programs and offered to help fill out the applications in our office, but—”
“’I don’t really need to know,’ said Justice of the Peace Mary Tom Curnutt, interrupting Palacios midsentence. ‘I don’t really have a dog in the fight, I will just tell you that if there’s still any chance of you getting your money then don’t take the judgment, but if you want to get them out of there, let’s get them out of there.’
“Even as states and the federal government have allocated billions of dollars in assistance, a year into the coronavirus pandemic, more than 14.5 million Americans don’t know whether they can pay their rent, according to a recent U.S. Census Bureau survey.”