CNN reporter Kyung Lah spent the day with law enforcement in Houston as the officers were tasked with evicting residents unable to pay rent amid a pandemic that has put millions of people out of work. The video segment, which aired Thursday, captures the brutal real-world consequences of not being able to afford housing.
“We ain’t got nowhere to go,” Israel Rodriguez Sr., the father of two small children, told deputies with the Harris County Constable’s Office as they evicted him and his family.
In Harris County alone, more than 200 eviction orders passed through the courts in just one recent week, double the number the county sees in a normal month, CNN reported.
Deputy Bennie Gant told the news outlet that “since the COVID-19 issue,” he’s seen a number of families where men and women are crying as he’s had to evict them.
On Tuesday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued a directive halting evictions for some renters though the end of 2020 to curb the pandemic. Local courts will still resolve disputes between renters and landlords about whether the eviction delay applies in a particular case.
Many Americans relied on the $600 in weekly unemployment benefits that Congress provided in March as part of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act, but those payments expired at the end of July.
One worker in Houston tasked with moving out an elderly woman began to cry as he spoke to CNN.
“I have a family. I have a sister. I have my mom,” Francisco Munoz told CNN. “You never know. Today it’s her. Tomorrow it’s me.”