$1 billion in Texas' rent relief program still available

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- If you need help paying your rent, especially after experiencing last month's severe winter storm, new programs have started, and so far, millions of dollars have been requested.

On Monday, Fort Bend County unofficially jumpstarted its new rental relief program with a video posted to social media by County Judge K.P. George.

"The grant is really important as it relieves anxiety and dissonance of tenants who are struggling and unable to pay their rent utility bills," George said.

There are about $23 million to help renters. In Houston and Harris County, there are $159 million. Texas has its own program too, which has $1.3 billion.

The programs started more than a week ago, with tens of thousands looking for help. In Fort Bend County, about 2,500 tenants and landlords have applied for assistance so far.

In Houston and Harris County, the number of tenants and landlords that have applied is 25,295, which includes several thousand who were brought over from a waitlist of the previous program. It's not first-come, first-serve, but more than half of the money available has been requested.

New data obtained by ABC13 shows more than $83 million have been requested. Right now, people can apply online, but that'll soon change when area agencies offer in-person assistance.

"Those nonprofits aren't online yet, but we hope to have them online in the next couple of weeks," Catholic Charities COO Bart Ferrell said.

As of Friday, 36,000 tenants and landlords in Texas applied through the state's rental relief program, requesting $125 million. The good news is there are still more than a billion dollars in aid remaining.

To qualify for the rental relief programs, you must have been impacted by the pandemic, and be below 80% of the median household income. The assistance is only for renters and does not include homeowners with a mortgage.

To learn more about Fort Bend County programs, click here. For Houston and Harris County, click here. To learn how to apply for the state's program, click here.
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