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Hancock Whitney provides residents housing, rental relief aid

BEAUMONT — As COVID-19 began to reach staggering heights, the housing crisis quickly escalated leaving Americans seeking aid. Residents in Beaumont have been faced with the threat of wrongful evictions, but in the coming weeks, many could receive a lifeline.

Hancock Whitney — one of America’s strongest, safest banks — will provide $75,000 in relief assistance to those in low- and moderate-income households who have experienced job loss, furlough, or a reduction in hours of work or pay due to the economic impacts of COVID-19. Two local organizations will be the beneficiaries of the investment.

Lone Star Legal Aid

Lone Star Legal Aid (LSLA) has provided free civil legal services to low-income clients who cannot afford a private attorney since 1948.

A total of $40,000 to the organization will help 66 low-income individuals and families with COVID-19 related eviction defense in Harris, Montgomery, Jefferson, Smith, and Brazos Counties. LSLA helps to prevent evictions from occurring in an effort to give individuals the time and resources needed to find new housing.

“With more than 2 million people eligible for our services and the number growing as a result of COVID-19 related economic loss, we simply cannot help everyone that needs us with the resources we have,” Lone Star Legal Aid CEO Paul E. Furrh, Jr. said. “We are seeing a flood of evictions, including illegal utility shut offs, unlawful lockouts, unemployment issues, food insecurity, and a rise in domestic violence while families stay home to avoid the virus. We are grateful for Hancock Whitney’s generous gift. It will allow us to help more people get through this brand-new type of disaster.”

The Salvation Army of Texas 

Delivering service in every Texas zip code, The Salvation Army of Texas provides food, shelter, clothing, emergency assistance, disaster relief, opportunities for underprivileged children, Christmas assistance, as well as additional services. A donation of $35,000 to the organization will benefit low- to moderate-income households by providing rental assistance to prevent eviction to an estimated 140 families in Beaumont, Tyler, and College Station.

“Hancock Whitney’s support allows us to make a difference in the lives of individuals and families in need,” said Major Mark Brown, General Secretary of The Salvation Army Texas Divisional Headquarters. “The COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in heightened need in communities throughout Texas and beyond, and The Salvation Army is grateful for committed partners that come alongside us to provide a hand up during this challenging time.”

In April, Hancock Whitney announced a $2.5 million investment to help people in some of the Gulf South’s most vulnerable neighborhoods during the COVID-19 pandemic—a total of $720,000 allocated to housing organizations to fund housing assistance and legal services that provide critical eviction representation across Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, and Texas. The investment also has helped to stock local food pantries, provide cloth face masks to protect residents and first responders, and fund community health centers.

Hancock Whitney Market President Chris Mosteller said the bank’s commitment to housing relief and legal services comes at a critical time as many local communities across Hancock Whitney’s banking footprint have begun, or will soon begin, to lift rental and eviction moratoriums.

“Over the past few months, we have been faced with unprecedented impacts to our local, state, and national economies,” said Mosteller. “At Hancock Whitney, our institution is anchored in values, reinforced with resilience, and focused on opportunity. It is important to us that we partner with local organizations to help preserve the incomes of our neighbors, so they have every opportunity to recover.”

Individuals seeking assistance may visit https://lonestarlegal.blog/ and https://www.salvationarmytexas.org/ for more information.