ADDISON, Texas (CBSDFW.COM) – Evictions across the state, according to reports, are surging now that the moratorium has been lifted.

If you are among those sweating out or behind on rent payments, Dallas County wants to get the word out that help is available.

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There is $40 million in emergency rent relief that going unused while people are facing evictions.

It’s only for Dallas County residents who live outside the city of Dallas but that still covers 1.3 million people.

When a DeSoto Luby’s cafeteria shut down at the beginning of the pandemic and never reopened, it left Kylah Johnson and her three kids with no income.

“It’s just like ‘oh my god this can’t be happening.’ When COVID hit all our jobs shut down so we were basically at home and couldn’t do anything,” she said.

Months behind on rent and facing eviction, Johnson found help with Dallas County’s Emergency Rental Assistance Program.

“Not enough people know about this program that there’s assistance available,” said Christian Grisales with Dallas County Health and Human Services.

DCHHS says a new publicity campaign about the program will hopefully curtail evictions.

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A report by the Texas Tribune says they are up more than 80% in Dallas and Fort Worth.

The county says it can help prevent them even at the last minute.

“We had people reach out to us within a matter of 24 hours to 48 hours and then we are able step in and talk to the landlord and stop that eviction,” said Grisales.

The county says landlords can also apply for relief on behalf of tenants.

With more people at risk of being kicked out of their homes, those who went through the screening process to get help say it’s worth it.

“Have faith and just try because I was like I didn’t have a faith it was gonna work for me but I was just like let me just try,” said Johnson.

Along with this new marketing rollout, there’s been an important change to the program: The recipients used to be chosen through a lottery system, but the program will now run on a first come first served basis.

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