By Erin Jones

DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – In exactly two weeks the CDC’s eviction moratorium expires and millions of Americans could be facing eviction.

In Dallas, the city has launched a program offering free legal assistance to those who think they may be affected.

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As coronavirus cases first started spiking nationwide, Elvin Lewis lost his job in highway construction, working as a contractor.

“It hit New York first and they’re out of Staten Island and they had to let me go and it was really hard and I just had to start over basically with my life,” Lewis said.

While he searches for a new job, he’s received some federal and state assistance, but says it minimal. He’s now behind on rent by about $1,400 dollars and facing eviction.

“So many people are affected by a loss of income due to coronavirus,” Legal Aid Northwest Texas eviction defense attorney Huma Yasin said. “It’s actually a pretty large amount of people that are renters and are living paycheck to paycheck. If they have any kind of loss of wages and they don’t have any income supplements or savings, which happens to be the case for many people, they are facing dramatic housing insecurity.”

“There are various levels of protections that are in place so we want to make sure that people are aware of the,” Dr. Priscylla Bento, with the City of Dallas Office of Equity and Inclusion office, said.

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In Dallas, the city’s Office of Equity and Inclusion, in partnership with Legal Aid of Northwest Texas, has created the Dallas Eviction Assistance Initiative.

It offers education, training and legal representation to City of Dallas rental tenants who have been impacted by COVID-19 and can’t pay rent. They must be at or below 200% of the federal poverty guidelines. Additional education and training for landlords is also available, looking at their rights and responsibilities.

Last month, more than 1,000 evictions were filed in the City of Dallas and in the coming months that number could rise.

“If moratorium is not extended and if additional assistance is not provided, we do expect eviction numbers to skyrocket,” Bento said.

For more information on Dallas’ assistance, click here.

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Erin Jones