Texas Rent Relief and the Texas Eviction Diversion Program
The Texas Rent Relief Program (TRR) and the Texas Eviction Diversion Program (TDEP) were the first statewide rental and utility assistance and eviction diversion programs in Texas. The programs launched in February 2021 and closed in the summer of 2023. The Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs (TDHCA) administered the programs with Emergency Rental Assistance Program funds from the U.S. Department of the Treasury. By providing rent and utility assistance, TRR and TEDP helped low and moderate income Texas renters remain stably housed during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Texas Eviction Diversion Program by design, specifically:
- Allowed courts to pause eviction cases while tenants and landlords applied for rental assistance.
- Provided training to court administrators about how tenants and landlords could access available rental assistance.
- Made lump-sum payments to participating landlords for past-due rent and late fees so tenants could remain in their homes.
- Kept evictions off tenants' records by making eviction case records confidential.
Program Highlights by the Numbers
- Over $2.2 billion in rent and utility assistance paid to more than 323,000 Texas households impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic to keep their housing.
- 250 out of 254 Texas counties served – a 98% reach of the vast Texas territory.
- More than 82% of households served were at or below 50% of their area median income.
- Through the Texas Eviction Diversion Program partnership with the courts, more than 25,000 applicants received more than $243 million in assistance and had their evictions stopped and made confidential from their records.
- 800 Texas Justices of the Peace (JPs) implemented TEDP at eviction hearings.
- 254 County Court (Appeal) Judges implemented TEDP at eviction appeal hearings.
- Historic $43 million for legal services to keep Texans housed and prevent homelessness. So far, over 30,600 households have received free legal assistance, including representation in eviction court, legal counsel and mediation services. Through Housing Stability Clinics, subawardees have assisted over 27,000 households facing housing instability with free legal counsel, including eviction and fair housing violations.
- More than 410,000 bilingual (English and Spanish) postcards were mailed to low-income renters statewide and nearly 500,000 flyers and doorhangers were distributed to community partners in five different languages.
- TexasRentRelief.com had more than 6 million users and 30 million page-views, including views of content in Spanish, Korean, Vietnamese and Chinese.
This effort would not have been possible without feedback from tenants, landlords and utility providers throughout the development of the program. TDHCA is grateful for the collaboration from apartment associations, tenant organizations, legal aid providers, utility providers, local Emergency Rental Assistance Program administrators, statewide agencies such as the Office of Court Administration, the Supreme Court of Texas, the Public Utilities Commission, and elected officials statewide. TDHCA thanks everyone who helped improve and support this unprecedented pandemic rent relief effort.