Harris County is providing $40 million in funding to help residents suffering financial hardship due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Households that are selected and approved will receive a one-time payment of $1,200 for emergency expenses, such as healthcare, rent, utilities, food, internet connectivity, transportation and childcare
The funding is expected to help some 33,333 families with one-time payments of up to $1,200, according to an Oct. 28 press release.
The funds will be distributed equally across Harris County’s four precincts. Applicants will be chosen through a random selection process.
“Although we cannot help everyone, I am proud that we are increasing our reach to more households with this Direct Assistance Fund,” Precinct 1 Commissioner Rodney Ellis said. “We know that direct assistance to low-income families can help reduce poverty rates, inject money into the local economy and, most importantly, help families afford their basic needs like housing, food and health care.”
The payments will be distributed in two rounds. The first round is already underway and is assisting families who applied to, but did not receive help from the Harris County COVID-19 Relief Fund program conducted earlier this summer, according to the release. The second round begins on Nov. 2 and will be open to anyone who has not previously applied.
Catholic Charities, the organization administering the program on behalf of the county, will accept applications from Nov. 2-6.
Since the application process requires applicants to upload documents, all applications must be submitted online, but applicants who want help or who have questions can call 832-990-1318, Monday-Saturday, 9am-8pm, for help with the application process.
The application process requires the applicant’s contact information, valid identification, proof of residence within Harris County, and documentation that at least one member of the household is receiving public assistance or that the household income is at or below 60% of the HUD Area Median Family Income, according to the release. (For context: 60% below HAMFI for a family of 4 is $47,288.) Households must also demonstrate that their income was adversely impacted by the pandemic. Selected applicants must also demonstrate their need for assistance via documentation like an unpaid rent/mortgage or utility bill.
Households that have already received other COVID-19 related assistance from Harris County are ineligible for this financial assistance, according to the release.
“Thousands of families across Harris County have struggled to overcome the financial damage from COVID-19,” Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo said in the release. “While this relief will not reach everyone who needs it, we must do everything in our power to help those who are vulnerable pull through.”
For additional information, visit catholiccharitieshelp.org.