The New York Times, August 29, 2020: Opinion | The Rent Eats First, Even During a Pandemic
In March, as New York City became an epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak, Mr. Loaiza returned to San Antonio and quarantined at home. But the virus was not far behind him, and when it arrived in full force in Texas, the jobs dried up. Mr. Loaiza and Ms. Bedoya had enough savings to cover April’s rent, $1,595, but they had to skimp on other bills. They began relying on food boxes from their church. As I’ve noted before, the rent eats first.
Sensing that his family wouldn’t be able to make the next month’s rent, Mr. Loaiza applied for emergency assistance and called the city’s Neighborhood and Housing Services Department so frequently that the operators got to know him by name. But it seemed as if all of San Antonio was calling, and Mr. Loaiza learned it could be a full month before help would arrive, if it arrived at all. When Houston approved $15 million in additional rental assistance, it ran out in less than two hours.