The law enforcement officers who evicted a young Houston father and his family days later set up a GoFundMe that has raised more than $180,000 to help him and other families facing eviction.
Last week, Israel Rodriguez, 24, his girlfriend, and two children, ages 4 and 20 months old were evicted from their Houston apartment. Rodriguez was behind thousands of dollars in rent after losing his job due to the pandemic, he said in a CNN report that his belongings were tossed next to his door.
Days later after the eviction, Rodriguez said that a GoFundMe account raised tens of thousands of dollars for his family. The money is enough for him to land back on his feet. He thanked his supporters in a news conference with the Harris County Constable’s Office, which served his eviction notice.
“It’s unbelievable how people got such a great heart,” Rodriguez said while holding back tears. “People didn’t have to help me. But people did it because of their heart.”
Two GoFundMe accounts have been set up to support Rodriguez and his family.
An account organized by former Houston teacher Patrick Tarnowski has raised more than $52,000 to help the Rodriguez family. The second account, set up by the Harris County Constable Precinct One Foundation to help Houston-area families who’ve been evicted during the pandemic, has received more than $181,000 in donations.
The funds will help Rodriguez to support his children, who’d been staying in a hotel after the eviction. He and his girlfriend can buy themselves clothes, he said in a CNN report that the two rarely change outfits.
“It’s the best thing that could ever happen to me,” Rodriguez said.
Harris County Constable Alan Rosen of Precinct One said the department was “humbled by the outpouring of support and donation offers” since the story was broadcast last week.
“We care,” he said, according to the precinct foundation’s GoFundMe page. “We are compassionate. We are abiding by the guidelines. 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.”