Tens of thousands apply on 1st day of Harris County $1,500 relief program

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- Days before the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention eviction moratorium ends, a new relief program could put thousands of dollars in the hands of Harris County residents.

HARRIS COUNTY RECOVERY ASSISTANCE PROGRAM APPLICATION PROCESS BEGINS

On Wednesday, July 28, Harris County opened the application process for its new recovery assistance program. It allows neighbors impacted by the pandemic to receive a $1,500 check.

Catholic Charities is running the program. Officials told ABC13 a number of people have already applied.

"As of 1 p.m., we had over 50,000 applications already," said Shannon Strother, Catholic Charities' vice president of programs.

If you haven't applied, there's no rush.

"It's not on a first-come, first-serve basis," Strother explained. "The application will be open for two weeks."

SEE ALSO: CDC ending eviction moratorium is 'ticking time bomb' for Houston renters, researchers say

IT ONLY TAKES MINUTES TO APPLY

The application asks about a dozen questions, and residents only have to provide a couple of documents, including a valid identification. ABC13 was with Cindy Miles as she applied on Wednesday.

"Very easy," Miles recalled. "15 to 20 minutes at the most."

Catholic Charities said neighbors who are selected to receive funds will get a notice from the agency. Someone may also contact you for more information if necessary.



DO I QUALIFY FOR THE MONEY?

In order to receive the $1,500, you must live in Harris County. You have to be 18, and impacted by the pandemic.

There's also an income requirement. For a family of four, the household income must be below is $47,520.

WHEN WILL THE MONEY BE DISTRIBUTED?

The application process is open, but don't expect to see the money in days. The applications will be collected for two weeks and tens of thousands are expected to apply.

Employees will have to go through each application, and it could take several weeks before the money is distributed.

SEE ALSO: Harris County relief program with $1,500 payments to families opens 2-week application window

"We'll be working through the applications as quickly as possible. Making sure we're treating each one with dignity and grace," Strother explained. "It'll take a couple of weeks to get the money out to the applicant."

WHAT IF I DON'T LIVE IN HARRIS COUNTY?

The program is only open to Harris County residents, but there is other assistance available, especially if you need help with rent. The CDC eviction moratorium is scheduled to end Saturday.

Both the city of Houston and Harris County have a program along with Fort Bend County. If you live elsewhere, the state still has millions of dollars in its rental program.

A spokesperson for the Coalition for the Homeless in Houston said the agency has been gearing up for the end of the moratorium for awhile. It's part of the reason why it recently launched a program to keep people in their homes.

There's still enough funding for a 1,000 families. If you're facing eviction, Houston Apartment Association president John Boriack said don't wait to talk to your landlord until this weekend.

"Immediately go talk to your property manager, like today, and start that conversation of how to catch up on your balance," Boriack explained.
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