Happening Now: $30 million in recovery funds available for Harris County families impacted by COVID

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If you’re struggling with back rent or utilities, the billions in rent assistance flowing to states may help — but it’s wise to also negotiate with your landlord and consider other solutions as well. Getty Images

HOUSTON (CW39) The eviction moratorium ends July 31st but a new $30 million pandemic relief fund opens up to Harris County families on Wednesday, July 28th. There is a two week application period running from 7/28-8/11 where 20,000 families can receive $1,500 in economic relief.

Sourced by funding from the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA), the program will provide 20,000 families with one-time payments of $1,500 which can cover any type of urgent expense, such as housing, groceries, utilities, medical bills, etc.

Unlike the Houston-Harris County rental relief program still in operation, the money goes directly to applicants (not to landlords), but the two programs are not mutually exclusive, so people who have applied for the rental relief fund (whether or not they were approved) are encouraged to apply for this program as well.

The program is not first-come/first-served; instead, it prioritizes applicants in the lowest income bracket, so people need not worry if they apply late in the application period. 

Qualifying applicants may live anywhere within Harris County and must be at least 18 years old.  Applicants must also self-certify that they have experienced pandemic-related economic hardship, and their income cannot exceed the maximum financial threshold (a member of the household must receive public assistance, or the total household income must be less than 60% of the HUD Area Median Family Income). Also, due to federal requirements, at least one adult member of the household must be a U.S. citizen, legal permanent resident, refugee, or other qualified noncitizen.

WHEN:Wednesday, July 28 through Wednesday, August 11  
WHERE:  FAQs, eligibility requirements, additional resources, and information on the navigator agencies appointed to help people apply are at HarrisCountyRelief.org.  Applications must be submitted online; the application will be available on the website tomorrow through August 11.  The call center will also open tomorrow (832-345-6289 Monday­–Friday 9am–6pm and Saturday 10am–2pm).    Applicants are encouraged to check their spam folder and to promptly respond to calls/texts about assistance about the program, to ensure they do not miss out on the opportunity for aid.  

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