DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – The state’s rent-relief program has helped hundreds of thousands of Texans facing pandemic-related hardships, but today it closed its application portal because applications have exceeded all funds available.

If you or someone you know needs help, there are other avenues to assistance.

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“Really there’s more evictions happening now than there were before COVID,” said Legal Aid of NorthWest Texas supervising attorney Dominic Ribaudo. “We’re seeing everyone from small apartment complexes to high-rise apartments.”

Ribaudo provides free legal assistance to people struggling with pandemic-related problems and has been busy with eviction hearings.

“So under the current Supreme Court order, if both parties agree to participate in a rent-relief program like Texas Rent Relief, the judges are supposed to be putting cases on hold for 60 days,” he said. “It’s called a period of abatement.”

According to its website, Texas Rent Relief has distributed more than $1.2 billion in federal assistance to more than 200,000 households, but now moving forward only remaining applications will continue to be processed until funds run out.

So what do you do if you still need help?

“It might be a little harder to find,” Legal Aid of Northwest Texas managing attorney Becky Moseley said. “There might be telephone calls that need to be made.”

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However, Legal Aid assures there’s still other rental assistance funds out there.

Their advice – first – check for county and city options.

For example, on Saturday the City of Dallas will be hosting a rent relief event from noon to 3 p.m. at the Lake Highlands Recreation Center.

Then look at churches and nonprofit organizations.

“And if you are facing an eviction or you receive a notice to vacate from your landlord, it is absolutely worth calling and seeking legal help,” Moseley said.

Legal Aid operates an eviction defense line and its services are free. You can reach them by calling 855-548-8457.

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