TXWF’s Economic Issues for Women in Texas 2020 research report underscores the continuing and growing needs in child care, education and health care, as well as emerging opportunities for greater intervention and investment in affordable, safe housing and housing stability. One especially acute issue in housing is the high rate of evictions of women with children and inequitable access to housing in high opportunity communities, which disproportionately impacts women of color with children.
National and local eviction moratoriums have protected families, but that protection went away March 30, 2021. The impact was immediate. Dallas County saw 44 evictions filed in April 2020, but 855 were filed in the first half of April 2021. Since March, evictions continue to skyrocket; more than 43,216 evictions were filed between Dallas and Fort Worth. The Foundation has assembled its first cohort of key community stakeholders in a learning community to address complex issues like housing instability. The nonprofits selected by TXWF make up a diverse, capable cohort of leaders in the housing stability sector.
Providing Affordable Housing
Texas Women’s Foundation addresses the various components that make up this issue through:
- Direct programming grants: Diversion and preventative eviction programs, landlord mediation and legal support, transitional housing and direct payments to families have been proven to be highly effective ways to prevent the cycle of homelessness.
- Policy advocacy: Advocating for domestic violence shelters to receive state funding; for the passing of a Tenant Bill of Rights, to allow local communities to prohibit landlords from discriminating against families using Housing Choice Vouchers (HCVs); and for other issues that positively impact women and families are our priorities.
- Education: Women with children, especially women of color, are the most likely demographic to get evicted and the most likely to receive Housing Choice Vouchers. Because landlords and tenants often do not understand the laws surrounding HCVs, there is a huge gap in utilization of this service. By educating both parties, landlords will see a higher level of occupancy and voucher users will be able to move more freely.
The Housing Stability Fund began in fall 2019, with a series of conversations with housing-focused community agencies, legal aid programs, city and HUD contacts, and policy advocates. The first grant was awarded in June 2020 to an agency that was already implementing smart housing stability responses to the COVID-19 situation. The Foundation has disbursed more than $500,000 to combat the emerging eviction crisis and to support sustainable solutions for housing stability. Over four years, the Housing Stability Fund will invest more than $3.5 million into stable housing for women and families through multi-year grants, policy initiatives and direct investments. In fiscal year 2022, the Foundation will disburse nearly $1.3 million through the Housing Stability Fund.