NORTH TEXAS (CBSDFW.COM) — The coronavirus has spurred a statewide moratorium on evictions.
The order, issued by the Texas Supreme Court, will protect most renters from eviction until at least Apr. 19.
But the stay does not protect everyone.
Under the law, people who live in motels or hotels are not typically considered tenants. That means they are not subject to the same formal eviction process.
Chris Louis said he found his room locked at the Super 7 Inn in Oak Cliff after he was unable to pay his bill this week.
Louis said he lost his job as a census enumerator after the government paused field activity last month due to the pandemic.
He said he’s now panhandling to make money. His belongings are still inside his room.
“It’s a situation for someone else to be greedy instead of being sympathetic to a particular situation,” Louis said. “I think they should be understanding.”
Tensions ran high at the Super 7 Inn today as other learned they, too, had been locked out of their rooms.
“There’s plenty of children over there,” Louis said. “You have single mothers over there. You have the mentally ill. You have people who were put out, put out on the streets.”
But the motel’s manager maintained that everyone needs to pay, regardless of the circumstances.
The Brown family moved out of their Lewisville motel on Thursday afternoon.
After losing his cooking job at IHOP due to the pandemic, Ralph Brown said he could no longer pay the room bill.
“We have nowhere to go and we’re just being pushed out here on the streets to fend for ourselves,” Brown said.
The reality is many families do live in motels across the Metroplex.
Dallas ISD recently brought meals to students at the Budget Suites off Stemmons Freeway as part of its new mobile meal program.
Earlier this week, Dallas Mayor Eric Johnson called for compassion.
“Have a heart,” Johnson said. “Do not compound our city’s problems by putting people out on the streets. Not right now.”
But Louis feared that’s exactly what’s happening.
“All I want is a safe place where I don’t have to be exposed,” Louis said. “That’s all I’m asking for.”
The City of Dallas has since released a list of shelters and residential programs for those in need.
For a list of shelters and residential programs, click here.