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Texas constables help raise $239K for families facing eviction

The Harris County Constable’s Office set up a GoFundMe after the families’ stories went viral

By Suzie Ziegler

HOUSTON — Houstonian Israel Rodriguez Sr. was thrust into the national spotlight last week after his family was featured in a CNN story about eviction during the pandemic. The agency tasked with carrying out the court-ordered eviction is now helping the family get back on their feet.

As of this writing, the Harris County Constable’s Office has raised nearly $240,000 dollars through a GoFundMe to help those who have been evicted because of the pandemic. The agency started the fundraiser in response to the outpouring of support from people who had seen the feature.

“We know people are suffering, and after all, we’re human beings as well,” Constable Alan Rosen told KHOU.

Since the CNN story ran on September 2, new CDC guidelines have allowed the constable’s office to put some evictions on hold, according to the GoFundMe page.

“We care. We are compassionate. We are abiding by the guidelines,” Rosen wrote on the page. “It breaks our hearts to evict people. We hope the generosity demonstrated following this single story will begin a movement where we work together as a society that starts a discussion about poverty, prioritizes kindness and encourages philanthropy.”

Rodriguez, who has kids and lost his job due to COVID-19, expressed his gratitude for the support.

“I’m not the only one struggling but for people to reach out to me, it’s the best thing that can ever happen to me,” Israel Rodriguez told KHOU on Friday.

Rodriquez said that he and his family are currently staying at hotel but are looking at permanent options. A GoFundMe for the family has raised $70,000, according to KHOU.

Rosen says the donations to the constable office’s GoFundMe will go to nonprofits that help with rental assistance and legal advisement.