SAN ANTONIO — For people who have been knocked down by COVID, it’s a way to get back up.
Federal dollars are available in Bexar County to help people pay overdue mortgages and delinquent property taxes.
Bexar County Tax Assessor – Collector Albert Uresti has set up a special section in his office downtown to help people who may need the help and not have the technology they need to complete the online application process.
“We know for sure that there's at least 15,000 families in Bexar County that could qualify for this program and we have reached out to them so they can apply,” Uresti said.
Explaining the program, Uresti said “You can get up to $25,000 in assistance for delinquent property taxes and up to $40,000 in assistance for mortgage payments, if you are behind on your mortgage.”
Uresti said the best thing about the effort is that it is free money.
“Even though this is not a county program, the beauty about this program is these are grants and they do not have to be repaid. It is free money,” Uresti said.
Uresti said the national pool of available funds is $842 million. The money set aside for Texas is being administered by the Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs. The national amount is nearly $10 billion, according to TDHCA.
“We saw this program as a way to help with our mission, which is to help keep families in their homes,” Uresti said.
Applicants must be able to show proof of loss.
Uresti said “People had to have incurred income losses or additional expenses because of COVID after January 21, 2020.”
So far, Uresti said, 343 Bexar County residents have managed to amass a total of more than $2.6 million in funds. Uresti said the only other Texas county that has had more payouts is Hidalgo County where the state started a pilot program months ago.
Uresti said this is a vital program because so many people are still suffering.
“The people who are applying are struggling because of COVID. They are feeling the effects of COVID and want to get back on their feet,” Uresti said.
His advice for anyone who qualifies is to invest a few minutes of time filling out the forms.
“Come by or go online. File the application. Submit it. You will not lose anything but a little bit of time and you stand to gain up to $65,000,” Uresti said.
There is also a statewide phone line (833) 651-3874 or people can visit the main office at 233 North Pecos or any BiblioTech location during normal business hours.
The Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs also shared a public dashboard that breaks down the county-level data, demographics and how much the program has paid to date. Click here for those details.