The Houston Texans quarterback said that he wants to be connected with the residents featured in a report by CNN

By Nicholas Rice
September 04, 2020 01:43 PM
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Credit: Peter G. Aiken/Getty

Deshaun Watson is looking to help out individuals and families who were evicted in Houston amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic in whatever ways he can.

After CNN aired a report on Wednesday that showed deputies serving evictions in Harris County, Texas, the Houston Texans quarterback said that he wants to be connected with the residents featured in the story, as he "would love to help them get back on their feet."

"This is crazy. Someone please help me find Israel Rodriguez and the elderly women in this video," Watson, 24, shared alongside a video of the report.

The Harris County Precinct 1 Office set up a GoFundMe account to help raise money for the displaced tenants, and wrote in a tweet, "We are humbled by the generosity of those willing to help those who have been evicted. If you have the means, you can follow the link below to donate to help all those struggling with this."

In the CNN report, viewers are introduced to Israel Rodriguez Sr. and his family, including his two sons — 4-year-old Fabian and 20-month-old Israel Rodriguez Jr. — as they are served with an eviction notice.

"We ain't got nowhere to go," Rodriguez is heard telling Deputy Bennie Gant and other deputies of the Harris County Constable's Office, before later telling CNN that he hasn't been paying rent and is behind thousands of dollars after he lost his job at the beginning of the pandemic.

"It's my fault because I'm supposed to be the man of the house," he told the outlet.

According to CNN, Rodriguez had "plenty" of warning about not paying his rent, from both his apartment manager and from the Harris County court, but the continuing effects of the pandemic left him without money to pay.

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An elderly woman who could no longer afford to pay her rent each month was also featured in the report.

In the video, the unidentified woman — who speaks only Vietnamese — sat on a chair outside in the hot Houston summer heat as Francisco Munoz, a man hired by her landlord to move the tenant's belongings, carried them onto the street.

"I have a family. I have a sister. I have my mom," Munoz told the outlet as he sobbed while the woman watched him move her items. "You never know. Today it's her. Tomorrow it's me."

But during their time there, Gant told the landlord, "I'm not gonna put her out here in this heat," before he added that he would return the next day with social services for the woman.

Gant, who works under Harris County Precinct 1 Constable Alan Rosen, talked about "statutory obligations" during his time with CNN.

"It's tough. I've got six kids, six children myself," he said.

In a Twitter statement, the Harris County Precinct 1 wrote, "It breaks our hearts to evict anyone," alongside a resource flyer they state they give to all those who become displaced. "We work compassionately to ensure we help, as much as possible, those evicted."

"We're human beings," said Rosen, who oversees the staff executing evictions. "It's horrible. It's horrible to have to evict somebody out of a home. This is their shelter. This is where their family life is."

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However, the Harris County Precinct 1 Office also noted that the evictions seen in the CNN report occurred on Sept. 1, prior to a ban that was issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that stops evictions for many through the end of the year.

Per the New York Times, the CDC said the suspension was put in place to prevent the virus from spreading among renters who end up in shelters or packed homes.

As the Times notes, the move applies to more people than the CARES Act's eviction ban to protect about 12.3 million in apartments or homes with mortgages backed by the federal government.