HAPPENING NOW: Millions allocated for Houston Rental Relief Program

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HOUSTON (CW39) Are you in need of rental assistance and live in the Houston area? Well today, Wednesday, June 30th you can head down to Harvest Time Church in Greenspoint and speak with officials about rental assistance that’s available for Houstonians.

In addition to the funding already allocated, an additional $53.5 million in rental relief is being added to the program, via funds from the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) passed by Congress earlier this year, and more ARPA funding is expected to be added to the ERAP in the coming months. 

Coming on the heels of this news and the CDC’s one-month extension of the nationwide eviction moratorium, more than a dozen groups will join forces Wednesday, June 30, 3-7pm, at Harvest Time Church in Greenspoint, to offer legal aid for hundreds of people, as well as to walk them through the application process in real-time.  Bilingual staff will be on-site to help tenants.

“COVID’s toll on people’s finances is far from over, but because of the Houston-Harris County fund, almost 32,000 families are now safe from eviction, and nearly $120 million has gone into the region to uphold our economy,” said Mayor Sylvester Turner.  “Nobody benefits from Houstonians losing their homes—not the families, not their landlords, and certainly not our communities.”

“It is a testament to the compassion and collaboration shown by everyone working on this fund that so many families have been helped this quickly,” said Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo. “We will continue to work so Harris County families recover as quickly as possible from this crisis.”

City and County officials have opted to direct more than $53 million in ARPA funds to provide rental assistance for additional people whose work situations have yet to return to pre-pandemic levels.  The new funds will be added to the City-County rental relief program, which is being co-administered by BakerRipley and Catholic Charities, with additional intervention services offered by The Alliance.  Since the program opened in late February, it has already allocated almost $120 million to help nearly 32,000 local families who are struggling due to pandemic-related financial challenges.

New federal guidelines allow the program to pay up to 18 months of COVID-related overdue and future rent for tenants, as the fund continues operating and more months accrue since the start of the pandemic.  People who have already received help can reapply, to request aid for months that were not covered on their first application.

Teams from The Alliance, BakerRipley, Catholic Charities, Houston Eviction Defense Coalition, International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees, Texas Gulf Coast Area Labor Federation, YMCA, and many volunteers from the Harvest Time Church, will be on-site at the June 30 event to provide the most current info on the eviction moratorium and local aid programs.  Families who cannot attend are encouraged to consult www.HoustonHarrisHelp.org at any time, where they can find the application, eligibility requirements, FAQs, a landlord directory, and a status checker for tenants.  There is also information on the eviction intervention program, which can detour eviction cases out of court so landlords and tenants can reach a faster resolution.  The legal aid is open to all families; however, the application is open to just City of Houston and Harris County residents. 

A phone line is available at 832-402-7568 six days a week: Monday–Friday 9am–6pm and Saturday 10am–2pm, and more info is available at www.HoustonHarrisHelp.org at any time.

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