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Coronavirus in Texas: Harris County officials double size of coronavirus relief fund for residents

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Storefronts in downtown El Paso are shuttered during the the coronavirus pandemic. Emily Kinskey for The Texas Tribune

Wednesday’s biggest developments:

  • Harris County residents could get more financial help

Harris County officials increase fund for struggling residents

Harris County commissioners agreed in a split, party-line vote to double the size of a coronavirus relief fund for people who need help affording housing costs, utilities and other basic needs, the Houston Chronicle reports.

The fund was increased to $30 million and is estimated to help 20,000 households, the paper reported. The commissioners’ 3-2 vote came the same day that eviction proceedings could begin again in Texas. Housing advocates fear a surge in displacement and homelessness because unemployment has disproportionately affected renters since the crisis began. — Brandon Formby

Top Tribune stories you might have missed:

  • Scaling back child care subsidies: The Texas Workforce Commission is phasing out temporary child care subsidies for low-income parents and essential workers as Gov. Greg Abbott launches phase two of the state's attempted economic jump-start from coronavirus shutdowns. The programs were started in response to the coronavirus pandemic.
  • Voting by mail: A federal judge ordered that all state voters, regardless of age, qualify for mail-in ballots during the coronavirus pandemic. U.S. District Judge Fred Biery agreed with individual Texas voters and the Texas Democratic Party that voters would face irreparable harm if existing age eligibility rules for voting by mail are in place for elections held while the coronavirus remains in wide circulation. Biery's ruling covers Texas voters who want to vote by mail so they don't risk contracting the coronavirus. The Texas attorney general said he would immediately appeal.

Texas reports 49,912 cases and 1,369 deaths

[5 a.m.] Texas officials are expected later Wednesday to release the latest number of Texans who have tested positive for the new coronavirus. As of Tuesday, at least 49,912 Texans had tested positive, and 1,369 people had died. See maps of the latest case numbers for each county and case rates per 1,000 residents. — Carla Astudillo