Texans now seeing millions from state's rental program after software issues reported

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- After fixing some software issues, the state's rental assistance program is distributing millions of dollars, but some Texans say they're still waiting.

The grip is getting tighter for Anthony Agi as the date on a piece of paper gets closer.

"On the fourth of this month, we got a notice to vacate," Agi said. "As you can imagine, a family of three, a little baby, and my wife, it's not a very good sight."

In a week, Agi could be out of a home. It's a reality he didn't think possible when he applied for the state's rental assistance program two months ago.

SEE RELATED STORY: Houston rent relief: There's still $100M available, but applications are starting to die down

"It's very frustrating," Agi said. "I know the money is there, but somebody is not doing a good job at the state level."

A little more than a month ago, the Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs told ABC13 it had issues with the rental website.

The department said a new system was built and more employees were hired. Now, more than $100 million has been distributed to about 15,000 families.

"I was at $3.5 million a day last week," said Bobby Wilkinson, the executive director at the Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs. "I'm at $6 million a day right now. I want to keep that number growing."

The total has surpassed what the city of Houston and Harris County have distributed.

The separate program has helped 19,000 families with about $70 million. Meanwhile, the state program has distributed about $11 million in the Houston area.

If you were impacted during the pandemic and meet the income requirement, you can get assistance with 15 months of rent and utilities.

But with the money flowing, the agency said it is running into another problem: getting in touch with applicants.

"That's the number one thing," Wilkinson said. "Answer your phone, your emails, because we've been blasting people trying to get these applications complete."

The state is also putting an emphasis on people facing eviction, so if you need assistance, make sure to mark it on the application. If you've already applied, call and let the agency know because you'll get priority.

There's plenty of money available. The Houston and Harris County program has about $100 million remaining.

To apply, visit the Houston Harris Help website. The state's program has about $2 billion. To apply, visit the Texas Rent Relief website.

You can apply to both programs, but you can't receive funds from both. State leaders said they're working with the different local programs to verify people aren't double dipping.

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