AUSTIN, Texas — Austin residents who are struggling to pay rent due to the coronavirus pandemic can apply for an emergency rent relief fund available through the city.
Starting Monday, March 15, Austin residents can apply online to be considered for assistance in 2021. Applications open through December 2021, or until funds are spent.
The City of Austin’s Neighborhood Housing and Planning Department (HPD) and the Housing Authority of the City of Austin (HACA) announced that its rental assistance program will provide $25 million in rental relief to "income-eligible Austin renters who are financially impacted by COVID-19."
It's called the Relief of Emergency Needs for Tenants (RENT) Assistance Program.
To be eligible, applicants must:
- Have an income of no more than 80% of the Area Median Income (AMI);
- One or more members of your household must have either: qualified for unemployment benefits OR provide proof that due to COVID-19 you: have less income, have more costs or bills, or experienced other financial hardship;
- One or more members of your household must demonstrate they: are at risk of experiencing homelessness or their housing situation is uncertain, which may include a past due utility/rent notice or eviction notice OR live in unsafe or unhealthy housing conditions;
- Live within the City of Austin Full Purpose Jurisdiction boundaries. Applicants can verify using the City of Austin Jurisdictional Boundaries map. The address on the application must be the applicant’s primary residence.
If you believe you qualify, you can apply for the RENT program online. An email address is required in order to apply.
For those who are approved to receive assistance, rent payments will be made directly to the landlord. Housing resources, eviction information and resources for paying utilities and housing services can be found on the City of Austin website.
Meanwhile, Travis County will begin accepting Emergency Rental Assistance Program applications starting on April 19, 2021. This will continue through Sept. 1, depending on fund availability. A total of $10.7 million is available.
“There’s a tremendous need for rental assistance in our community,” said Sherri Fleming, County Executive of Travis County Health and Human Services. “From sudden job losses to dealing with health issues, many families continue to face difficult challenges during the COVID-19 pandemic. Using the ERAP program, we look forward to assisting local renters.”
This program is intended to support both tenants and landlords. In order to qualify, applicants must meet the following eligibility requirements:
- Must reside in Travis County
- Have experienced loss of income and/or financial hardship due to the pandemic
- Be unable to pay rental obligations
- Has a household income at or below 80% of the area median income (AMI)
“2020’s CARES Act funding allowed us to provide about $4.8 million in direct rental payments,” said Fleming. “This additional source of funding through ERAP from the U.S. Treasury Department will allow us to help even more families who continue to face financial challenges and help ease worries about falling behind on their rents.”
A link to the application can be found here. For more information, dial 211.
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