Houston and Harris Co. rental assistance program extended due to lack of applicants

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- A program aimed at helping 45,000 families pay their rent in Houston and Harris County had to be extended due to lack of applicants.

READ MORE: Houston-area renters have just few days left to apply for $60M rent help in COVID-19 pandemic

You can receive about $2,000, but so far, not even half of those who can apply have taken action.

"It's pandemic fatigue," said Baker Ripley Chief Program Officer Rene Solis. "Many tenants tried to apply for the first round, where we received over 15,000 applications in the first 90 minutes. Then we had to close it down."

The program requires the landlord to apply as well and agree to waive fees, evictions, and establish payment plans.

If they won't, the Houston Apartment Association lists 25 agencies in the area on its website that could help with rent.

Plus, the impact doesn't just impact tenants.

Baker Ripley said homeowners can call 211 and ask about a utility assistance program.

"We have another $25 million that we are administering for utility assistance. People having difficulty, whether it be a renter, or a homeowner," said Solis.

It's something tenants, and renter Judy Phillips, believe they need more than ever because they fear the eviction notice September could bring.

Phillips said she's three months behind on rent payments and is facing eviction.

"They've been working with me, but it comes to a point where they got to have their money too," Phillips said.

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