Renters can't touch the nearly $100 million available for rental relief

RICHMOND, Texas (KTRK) -- Nearly $100 million has been sent to the Houston area to help with rental relief, but neighbors have no way to access it.

In Fort Bend County, about 7,023 families were able to receive rental assistance in 2020, and now county leaders are prepared to help even more.

The latest stimulus bill provided about $23 million for rental help and is intended for residents use.

"I'm almost positive there are a lot of residents within the Missouri City area that could utilize federal assistance," Missouri City resident Larry Renfro said.

Four days ago, Fort Bend County Commission accepted the rental relief. However, there's nowhere to apply on the county's website.

Fort Bend County Judge KP George said he is unsure what's happening with the website.

"That is something I will definitely find out," George said. "I don't want to say something I don't know."

George said he plans to talk to the county auditor and explained that local leaders are working on a rollout that could come as soon as Monday.

Once its released, neighbors will be able to request $1,500. The additional funds are also available to those who previously applied and received rental relief.

"You have to re-qualify," George said. "Simply because you got money in one of the first phases, you don't automatically qualify for the next phase."

Harris County renters will also have to wait on their funds, according to officials.

Judge Lina Hidalgo's office said the county received about $74 million in rental relief and are working to figure out how they want to distribute it.

If you or someone you know needs additional help paying rent, there are other options.

RaiseUp Families is accepting applications to help keep Houstonians in their home.

"If you are someone who wants a completely different life for yourself, and you just don't know what to do, and need a little guidance to get there, we are the answer," RaiseUp Families Executive Director Angela Burgess said.

The agency provides financial help with rent, utilities, and childcare for nine months.

Clients have to agree to meet with counselors during that time, and create goals to better their lives. They're looking to help about 50 families.

Adriana Garza said the program changed her family.

"I know that it's possible," Garza said. "Even with any obstacles you can have. It is possible if you have a leading hand and someone to support you and to help you through these issues."

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