How to apply to Houston's rental assistance program if your landlord isn't participating

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Monday, September 21, 2020
Applying to Houston rent relief program without landlord
Press play to watch ABC13's Nick Natario demonstrate exactly how to apply to the rent relief program.

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- There is still a large number of people in the Houston area that need help paying their monthly rent.

Mayor Sylvester Turner advised tenants two weeks ago to apply for the joint city-county rental assistance program, even if their landlord didn't apply, but the program administrator BakerRipley wasn't equipped to take those applications.

Houston and Harris County residents whose landlords aren't applying can visit BakerRipley's landlord directory to submit information about their landlord, if the landlord isn't already listed, so they can apply to the program.

BakerRipley will review submissions next week and start administering money in the final week of September, the agency told ABC13.

For tenants applying without their landlord, $350,000 is available to be distributed among applicants.

Even more money is available through the original program, so tenants are advised to apply to that if their landlord is participating.

There's also good news on the jobs front in Texas, according to a number Gov. Greg Abbott touted on Thursday as he reopened more of the state's economy.

"The extent to which Texas has been open has been reflected in the plummeting unemployment rate," he explained.

The unemployment rate in Texas is falling but not faster than the rest of the country. Right now, Texas' rate stands at 6.8%. In Houston, it's 8.4%. Nationally, it's 8.4%. Since April, both national and Texas numbers have fallen by about six percent.

"I don't know that we're that far ahead, but I will say this much," Workforce Solutions principal economist Parker Harvey explained. "When you legally remove restrictions allowing them to operate, that does allow them to operate, and for jobs to come back. You can certainly give credit there."

The state's August job report released Friday showed industries that exploded after reopening have now slowed. Leisure and hospitality, construction, and manufacturing went from adding tens of thousands of jobs to losing thousands.

"Think of it like a ball dropping and bouncing back," Harvey said. "After a while, the momentum isn't going to be quite as high as it was in that initial drop and bounce back. I think that's what you're seeing."

There's plenty of good news though in the new jobs report. The Houston area added more than 11,000 jobs.

There are also fewer people on unemployment benefits in the Houston area. In August, 282,000 individuals were unemployed in Houston, which is down from 323,000 individuals in July. Continuing unemployment claims dropped by nearly 50,000 from July to August, which coincides with the time the weekly $600 benefit ended.

"It would be hard to separate what caused what, but it's a combination of all those things and more," Harvey explained.

For people currently looking for a job, many retail positions have opened up for the incoming holiday season.

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