Houston rental assistance: More than $60M requested in Houston and Harris County's programs

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Tuesday, October 6, 2020
Woman with only $3 gets help from ABC13 to apply for rent money
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There's a been a change in the way you can get money from the county or city for your rent and it's only a few clicks away. Hit play for a show-and-tell from ABC13's Nick Natario. Trust us, it's easy and won't take long.

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- If you live in the city of Houston or Harris County and are in need of rental assistance, there's still time to apply, but funds are beginning to run out.

In August, the city and county kicked off a rental assistance program. Initially, renters could only receive help if their landlord first enrolled to participate in the program. However, that requirement changed a couple weeks ago.

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

BakerRipley, who is running the program, changed the website to allow tenants to directly submit their information for assistance.

Renters such as Alejandra Bartlett took advantage of this change.

"This is the worst one," said Bartlett, who is struggling to pay for her $500-a-month apartment. "I feel helpless."

Her family stepped in to help for months, but the pandemic took its toll.

READ MORE: Houston renters can get help without landlords required to enroll

"I only have $3 in my bank account, and I'm praying they don't close it," Bartlett said.

On Monday, Eyewitness News helped Bartlett submit her information to get assistance.

BakerRipley said 2,000 people have applied for the program without an enrolled landlord. The agency said it's sending information to partner agencies to get people assistance.

BakerRipley said 18,000 Harris County tenants have been notified that they have been selected for final verification. There are about 12,500 applicants in the city. So far, $9 million has been paid.

The program only covers money owed in rent from April - August. BakerRipley said there's still money available, and is encouraging tenants and landlords to enroll, which is exactly why Bartlett applied.

"I don't know how I'm going to make it," Bartlett said. "I just know I have to keep going. I've got to keep waking up every day."

To apply for the program, visit BakerRipley's website.

If your landlord isn't enrolled, enter your address on the landlord registry. After searching the database, a link to submit information for help should appear.

The Harris County rental assistance program requires landlords to enroll. So far, 13,500 landlords and 42,000 tenants have applied, requesting about $60.2 million.

If selected, Houston and Harris County tenants can receive about $2,000 each.

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