HOUSTON – Tens of thousands of residents have applied for the Harris County COVID-19 Relief Fund, according to a press release.
The fund accepted applications for the second time this week. The application was available online and over the phone. The total number of applications is still under review, as the county removes duplicate submissions from those who might have submitted multiple applications.
Due to the high volume of applications received, Harris County said they need more time to process, select and match applicants with the appropriate community-based organization. Applicants will be notified of selection and community-based organization match by June 30, through originally set to be on June 26. The full list of organizations will be shared on June 29.
“The staggering number of applications we received only goes to show the immense magnitude of need across Harris County,” said Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo. “It is clear that people are hurting, so we’re moving as quickly as possible to get these funds out the door.”
Harris County COVID-19 Relief Fund, Round 2:
- Hosted more than 1.9 million sessions on its website, including visitors who visited the website multiple times.
- 178,562 of the sessions were conducted in Spanish
- 2,474 of the sessions were conducted in Vietnamese
- 1,973 of the sessions were conducted in Chinese
- Assisted more than 24,000 people over the phone
- 8,103 call sessions in Spanish
- 16,033 call sessions in English
All applications will be placed into a drawing and randomly selected to ensure a fair process for those who applied, the county said.
To reach those most vulnerable in the community, applicants from vulnerable census tracts, as defined by the Center for Disease Control’s Social Vulnerability Index, will be prioritized to receive assistance, with those in the most vulnerable areas receiving up to a 50% increased chance of being selected.
Those selected through the randomized process will be matched with a community-based organization, who will then reach out within five business days to continue the application process.
“We understand that urgency is critical as the need is great, and we’re committed to deploying this aid fairly and as quickly as possible so that it reaches those who need it most, " said Harris County Precinct 1 Commissioner Rodney Ellis. “As we’ve said from the very beginning, we won’t be able to help everyone but I’m proud that Harris County is trying to step up where others can’t or won’t.”
Partnering with community-based organizations
The 44 grantee community-based organizations, who received the fund’s first phase of funding on June 12, continue to serve individuals and families with whom they were already engaged with.
As of Thursday, a total of 2,381 households in Harris County have been served or were in the process of being served.
Those who are still looking for assistance are encouraged to call 211 Texas/United Way helpline to find an organization in their geographic region.