What you need to know about Houston’s $60 million rental assistance program

HOUSTON – The city of Houston and Harris County have allocated up to $60 million in rental relief for landlords and renters experiencing financial hardship amid COVID-19. Each individual tenant may be eligible to receive up to $2,112.

Mayor Sylvester Turner urged residents to take advantage of the opportunity. He said individual renters can apply, even if their landlords did not apply.

Officials plan to accept applicants until all of the funds have been distributed by Houston-based nonprofit, BakerRipley. The deadline has been removed.

“I want families to know that they are not alone, especially not due to the current public health crisis. In fact, evictions, at any time, whether there is a pandemic or no pandemic at all, is very heartwrenching,” Turner said.

BakerRipley will begin to distribute funds on behalf of the tenants next week, Turner said. The program requires landlords to agree not to evict anyone in their complex, even if just one tenant receives rental assistance. More than 8,000 landlords have already signed on and more than 30,000 tenants have applied.

Local officials combined multiple sources to fund the rental assistance program. Harris County provided $40 million and the city of Houston contributed $20 million with $15 million from the CARES Act and the rest from private donors.

Turner said anyone who would like to donate to the rental assistance program should contribute directly to BakerRipley. The contributions can be earmarked for the rental assistance program.

In recent days, evictions have become a heavily discussed topic after a CNN story showing the Harris County constables evicting a family and an elderly woman went viral. In response, people from across the country have sought to help those in need by offering jobs, money and resources. The constable’s office launched a GoFundMe to support those who need rental relief assistance.

And earlier this week, the Centers for Disease Control halted evictions for certain renters through the end of 2020.

Turner said the justices of the peace and Harris County constables have been informed about the rental assistance program and will spread the word through the community as well.

“If you’re in need of rental assistance, I want you to still apply. Because you never know, there may be additional funding provided,” Turner said. “So even if your landlord doesn’t sign up agree to sign up, I still want you to apply to the rental assistance program.”

Here is the full press conference:

Rental relief in Houston

Mayor Sylvester Turner provides information on the rental assistance program for Houstonians struggling during the COVID-19 pandemic. https://www.click2houston.com/news/local/2020/09/04/watch-live-mayor-turner-discusses-rental-relief-program-in-houston/

Posted by KPRC2 / Click2Houston on Friday, September 4, 2020

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