HOUSTON – Harris County is offering financial relief to families struggling during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Each family will receive $1,200 to be used on emergency expenses, such as housing, food, utilities and healthcare.
The COVID-19 assistance fund is $40 million. The county hopes to help 33,000 families.
Frances McIntire-Freeman said that when COVID-19 hit, she and her husband both lost work and the bills just kept coming.
“If you had a $200 dollar light bill or $300 dollar light bill COVID didn’t change that and not having a job didn’t change that," she said.
McIntire-Freeman said she applied for the relief money back in June but was not selected.
She was contacted again and submitted all the paperwork needed. Days later she received $1,200 in her bank account.
“This $1,200 unexpectedly was such a relief and I’m so thankful because you see it on tv and wonder if it’s real and should I apply," she said. "Yes! Apply!”
“This program structure is such that we have an open application," said Bart Ferrell with Catholic Charities of Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston. "Those are going to be across five days after the application period closes, we’re going to randomize the applicants, and we’re going to select up to the number we can serve, we expect it to be close to 17,000 in this round.”
To be eligible, people must live in Harris County and have not yet received COVID-19 assistance funds from the county.
One family member must be enrolled in a public assistance program, such as Medicaid, or the household income must be less than 60-percent of the median family income.
People must also be able to prove hardship.
“We see the need is really great during this time of the pandemic. We’re really excited to partner with Harris County to reach those who are most vulnerable, who need to help the most and who are suffering because maybe they lost their job,” said Ferrell.
If you applied back in June and did not qualify, you should apply again.
“I want to encourage everyone if you applied back in the summer for this funding and didn’t get selected please go and update your application with current and correct contact information,” said Cynthia Colbert, CEO of Catholic Charities.
People can apply Monday through Friday.
Applicants will be selected randomly. To apply, visit catholiccharitieshelp.org.
For help with your application, you can call (832) 990-1318.