$4 million rent assistance program for Karya Property tenants

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- Representatives with a Houston apartment management company say they are continuing their commitment to help tenants who can't pay rent due to the economic crisis.

Karya Property Management CEO Swapnil Agarwal said he is offering rent assistance to 12,000 tenants across his 42 apartment complexes around Houston.

"Our foundation is called Karya Kares that will be providing rental assistance of up to $1,000 that will be applied towards their rent," Agarwal said at a City of Houston press conference in April. "People who have been directly affected and have lost their jobs because of this devastating virus."

The total assistance is valued at $4 million.

"For people who have lost jobs and are current on their rent, we paid for the first month that they couldn't afford," Agarwal said.

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The program director, his wife, Deepika Agarwal, says they were originally paying 75% of one month's rent up to $1,000, but now pay 100% of one month's rent.

She says they have helped 1,115 people from March to June, paying out $671,000 in those four months.

They do not have final numbers on July and August assistance but say more than 300 people were helped in August.

Despite the promising claims, ABC13 has interviewed several tenants who say they were denied help from the Karya Kares Rental Assistance program.

Agarwal says it was because they were already behind on rent when they applied.

One of the few requirements is that you must apply for help before missing rent.

Carlos Harrell is one of those recipients.

"You know May and June was like, 'This is going to be a little tight,'" said Harrell.

He works in sales for 3 Men Movers and received around $600 in assistance for his June rent.

"When things did pick back up, it was like I didn't miss a beat. So it did help out a lot."

SEE ALSO: Houston and Harris County rent relief application now open

Agarwal says he wishes he could do more.

"Keep in mind that my expenses include mortgage payments, property taxes, property insurance, payroll and utilities," he said.

The self-made millionaire says he knows what it's like to pinch pennies.

He immigrated to Houston at 15 with his parents, and he says he lived in an Alief-area apartment for ten years.

"On weekends, I used to pass out pizza flyers," Agarwal said. "A lot of those apartment complexes where I did pass out pizza flyers growing up, we actually do own."

But for tenants who still need help, he says they are willing to get creative.

"Please reach out to us. We can help you in multiple ways," Agarwal said. "We can work out a payment program. We can work to help you with our own Karya Kares rental assistance. We can help you apply to Baker Ripley, the city's or Harris County's assistance program."

Agarwal says he is also taking direct emails from tenants with genuine concerns and questions.

You can reach him via email here.

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