This morning the city announced rent assistance for Houstonians via a website sourced by Baker-Ripley. Soon after, that website crashed after being inundated with inquiries by renters either out of work and unable to meet rental expenses since the CIVID-19 pandemic began.
In about 2 hours, the system was depleted of $15M in funding around noon Wednesday after renters, plus, around 6,000 landlords applied for rental unit funding. Close to 12K managed to be pre-screened for rent assistance before funding was gone.
The Mayor says more money will be resourced and shifted to meet the needs that have already exceeded the amount provided from the federal government.
Hopefully there will be a stimulus package for renters.Houston Mayor Sylvestor Turner
When Mayor Turner was asked about furloughs expected come July 1st, he was specifically asked if he too, will receive a pay cut from his annual salary.
I don’t anticipate it.Mayor Turner
Here is the Mayor of Houston’s complete statement:
After the Mayor spoke today, Texas Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee assured the public that funding will be provided.
We will be giving housing assistance to renters directly and helping people with their mortgages so they are not fore-closed on. You will be able to get that.Texas Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee
Meanwhile, this rapid depletion of funding for renters, is the latest major shortfall to occur after Houston Mayor Sylvestor Turner’s announced his proposed budget Tuesday.
In his proposed budget for fiscal year 2021, the Mayor called it the “toughest budget” he’s worked on since becoming Mayor in 2016.
For example, the budget calls for furloughs of 3,000 employees for a maximum of 10 days. Mayor Turner said those furloughs will not impact fire, police or solid waste workers.
There is a 169 million dollar gap. Morning Dose’s Courtney Carpenter was outside City Hall this morning with more about how the City plans to balance it all out. She found out some things that are included in the cuts.
The City estimates they’ll lose about $107 million dollars in sales tax revenue because of COVID-19, which will have an impact on city services.
To make up for it, the $169 million dollar gap, the proposed budget says the City will draw $98 million dollars from the General Fund Balance and exhaust the $20 million dollar Budget Stabilization Fund, which is the “Rainy Day Fund.” Not ideal – the Mayor explains, as we head into Hurricane season.