Texas renters, homeowners: Need help paying your utilities bill? The application portal is now open

The homepage of the Texas Utility Help website, as collected on July 7, 2022. (Texas Utility Help, Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs)

HOUSTON – The Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs has launched the Texas Utility Help program, opening the application portal for the second time this year, to assist eligible low-income Texas homeowners and renters in paying their utility bills.

The statewide program works to distribute funding from the federal Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program and federal Low Income Household Water Assistance Program.

How to apply

Texas homeowners and renters may submit an application for Texas Utility Help if their household income is at or below 150% of Federal Poverty Income Guidelines and they meet other eligibility criteria. When Texas Utility Help first launched energy assistance in July, high demand resulted in the program closing the application portal within one week.

Requirements

  • Texas homeowners and renters need to meet the following criteria to qualify for the program:
  • Household income must be at or below 150% of Federal Poverty Income Guidelines.
  • At least one occupant in the household must be a U.S. citizen or qualified alien.
  • For water and wastewater assistance, those who have been disconnected or are at risk of having their service disconnected are prioritized.

The maximum household income depends on the number of people living in the household. Full eligibility criteria are available at TexasUtilityHelp.com.

The ‘why’ behind the program

“We launched Texas Utility Help at the state level to make it easier for even more Texans to access and benefit from utility assistance programs,” said Bobby Wilkinson, TDHCA executive director. “The new program uses a streamlined online application process, so any eligible Texas household can apply for both energy and water bill assistance in a single form.”

How much you can get

Qualified applicants can receive assistance for their total past due amounts for electricity, natural gas and propane plus up to $2,400 in prospective payments. For water and wastewater assistance, qualified applicants can pay off their total past due payments and up to $600 in prospective payments. All payments are issued directly to the utility company on behalf of the applicant.

Texas Utility Help has over $50 million ready for Texas homeowners and renters in need, the news release about the program said. To date, the program has distributed more than $15 million and assisted more than 7,400 households. Program staff are encouraging applicants to apply as soon as possible while these funds are still available.

If you need help with your application, have other questions

For more information and questions, the call center is staffed Monday- Friday 8 a.m. - 6 p.m. and can be reached toll free at 855-566-2057. Help is available in multiple languages.


About the Author:

Amanda Cochran is an Edward R. Murrow award-winning journalist. She specializes in Texas features, consumer and business news and local crime coverage.