HOUSTON – A new $8 million program is underway to help Houston area residents who are still battling the financial effects of COVID-19 avoid homelessness.
The Eviction Intervention Program, which is a part of the Houston-Harris County Emergency Rental Assistance Program, will help families avoid imminent homelessness and help landlords recover from overdue rent.
The $8 million funding, which comes from the Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs and the U.S. Treasury, will be run by The Alliance, a nonprofit agency that helps refugees, immigrants, and underserved residents. The Alliance will contact tenants and landlords using information drawn from court filings and applications to the program.
Both tenant and landlord must agree to participate.
“The city’s priority is to keep families in their homes without creating an unfair financial burden for landlords, and we’re thankful to our nonprofit partners that are making that possible, including The Alliance, which is stepping in to assist applicants at a critical moment – in eviction court,” said the city of Houston Housing and Community Development Director Tom McCasland. “This program will both prevent the unnecessary expense of eviction proceedings and save vulnerable renters from the chaos and deep harm their families will suffer if evicted.”
The program is intended for families who are on the brink of eviction and who already have a case number with the city of Houston or Harris County.
Tenants who wish to apply for the program cannot earn more than the income threshold (80% of area median income) and must prove pandemic-related financial impact. Applicants can be approved for up to six months of consecutive rent (past or future); at least one month must be for future rent.
Since the new program is part of the rental relief fund being jointly administered for the city of Houston and Harris County by BakerRipley and Catholic Charities, tenants who do not qualify for eviction intervention might still qualify for rental relief from the larger program; therefore, all families struggling financially because of pandemic-related wage reductions are encouraged to apply.