HOUSTON – Whether you live in the city, the suburbs, or a more rural part of Texas, the coronavirus pandemic is putting a financial strain on everyone, especially when it comes to paying your bills.
Trevor Haughton and his wife, Rita Moses, are drowning in debt after recently losing their service industry jobs due to COVID-19. They owe nearly $3,000 in overdue rent and utility bills. They were hoping to qualify for Houston’s rental assistance program, but it ran out of money in less than an hour.
“I don’t know what to do, I’m in a panic state,” Trevor Haughton said. “We owe 2 months rent, April and May, and I don’t know if we’re gonna be put out on the street.”
The Haughtons’ story illustrates the unbelievable amount of need for help right now. But there is help available.
“Texans that have lost their jobs and have applied for unemployment can also enroll in this program which allows them to be free from disconnection of their electricity,” said Andrew Barlowe with the Public Utility Commission of Texas.
In March, the PUC created the COVID-19 Electricity Relief Program to protect low-income Texans and those that have lost their jobs from having their electricity shut off, even if they can’t pay their bills.
The PUC program runs through July 17 and you can apply by calling 866-454-8387. It’s not a free program. It is simply protection from the threat of disconnection of service. You can find out more about the program by clicking here and here.
Another organization that is offering low-income families with help paying rent and utilities is Catholic Charities.