The police who carried out a young Houston family's eviction order in an ordeal broadcast on CNN earlier this month have raised $234,000 in a GoFundMe page they set up to help the family get back on their feet. The Harris County Constable Precinct One Foundation felt compelled to do something and set up the donation page with help from the news network.
“We’re human beings. It’s horrible to have to evict someone from their home,” said Constable Alan Rosen, the project coordinator. “This is their shelter. This is where their family life is.”
Israel Rodriguez, 24, his girlfriend, and his two young sons, Fabian, 4, and Israel Jr., 1, were forced out of their Texas complex after they received multiple warnings from their landlord and the Harris County court, CNN reported.
Like many others, Rodriquez is one of the hundreds of thousands of people who lost their jobs amid the pandemic, leading to thousands being owed to his landlord. The day of his eviction, the father of two told the officers “we ain't got nowhere to go right now.”
The family doesn't have a car and had most of their personal belongings discarded on the street, the Daily Mail reported.
During the video, Rodriquez shared with CNN the emotional toll it has taken on him.
'It's my fault because I'm supposed to be the man of the house,’” said Rodriquez, who showed the news station a check for $361, all of the money he said he had.
On the GoFundMe page created to help the family, Rosen posted: “‘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.”
The story struck a chord with viewers, even drawing the attention by some well-known sports figures, who wanted to help.
Houston Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson posted about the family’s plight to his 1.3 million Twitter followers. A New York-based teacher also set up a second GoFundMe page to help the family that has since raised $70,050.
Rodriguez and Rosen gave a joint press conference late last week, where they thanked people from across the country for their outpouring of love and generous donations.
Overwhelmed by the compassion people shared, Rodriquez held back tears as he said the support “was the best thing that could ever happen to him."
”It’s unbelievable how people got such a great heart. People didn't have to help me. But people did it because of their heart," he said.
Rodriquez’s eviction came hours before the Trump administration issued an executive order giving the CDC authority to block landlords from residential evictions through the end of 2020.