The governor’s office announced Friday that $11.3 million in rental assistance will be easier to access for Texans in need during the COVID-19 crisis. Earlier in April, Gov. Greg Abbott asked the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development to waive some requirements on these funds to open them up to parts of the state that are not typically eligible.
"Thanks to these waivers from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, the State of Texas will be able to provide much-needed financial relief to Texans struggling with housing due to challenges posed by COVID-19," Abbott said in a press release.
Rent assistance providers — which include nonprofits, housing authorities and local governments — will be able to apply for these funds in the upcoming weeks. The Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs recommended that renters in need visit the Help for Texans website to find providers in their areas.
Local governments are also mobilizing to provide housing assistance. This month, San Antonio approved a $25 million program, and Dallas passed a $13.7 million plan to help renters. Advocates are asking for stronger measures from the state. Christina Rosales, deputy director for the advocacy organization Texas Housers, said that “this is a start, but is hardly a drop in the bucket” and called on Abbott to “tap the state rainy day fund” to help renters. — Juan Pablo Garnham