Friday May 14, 2021
Texas Rent Relief Program Provides Over $100 Million in Assistance,
Helps Tenants and Landlords Avoid Eviction
AUSTIN – Today the Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs (TDHCA) announced it has already distributed more than $100 million in rental and utility assistance to Texans in need. TDHCA is administering a $1.3 billion grant in emergency federal relief funds from the U.S. Department of the Treasury to help income-eligible Texans struggling to keep up with rent and utility payments during the pandemic. Renters get assistance with up to 12 months of rental assistance including back rent and up to three months of future rent, as well as utility assistance. As eviction moratoriums expire across the state, the Texas Rent Relief Program (TRR) is prioritizing applications for tenants whose landlords have filed for eviction in an effort to keep Texans in their homes.
"Today the Texas Rent Relief Program is proud to announce it has reached an exciting benchmark having helped more than 12,000 Texans by providing more than $100 million in rental and utility assistance – with hundreds of millions more assistance in the pipeline," says Bobby Wilkinson, TDHCA Executive Director. "Almost half of those funds were allocated to assist with diverting evictions. This program is providing much needed economic stability both for tenants and landords, as well as helping renters pay utility bills. If you are a renter in Texas – help is here. We have more than a billion in assistance to help, so apply today at TexasRentRelief.com.”
The Texas Rent Relief Program is an opportunity to get up to 12 months of back due rent and even secure up to three months of future rent stability for tenants. Landlords can get up to 15 months of rent paid through this program, but only if they don't evict.
Personal Story of Relief: Getting Life Back on Track
Like many people, when the pandemic hit, Samaj Nelson lost her job when her employer laid off half of the staff. Without additional income, she fell behind on rent and needed assistance.
Nelson heard about the Texas Rent Relief Program through her landlord and immediately applied.
“I applied early and was pleased with the communication and notifications letting me know what was needed for my application,” said Nelson. “It takes patience to complete the entire application, but it’s well worth it.”
When Nelson received official approval for assistance, she instantly felt a sense of gratitude and relief: “I have never needed help like this before but knowing that it was coming lifted a huge burden I’ve been carrying for months off my shoulders. I feel like I can finally get my life back on track.”
Since then, she’s been telling her friends and others she knows about the program: “Help is here. If you’ve been in my similar situation, I encourage you to apply.”
By the Numbers
Texas was the first state in the nation with a billion dollar allocation to begin administering these new funds from the U.S. Treasury Department. The Texas Rent Relief Program has continued to ramp up to meet the urgent needs of those seeking assistance.
The following provides performance of the Texas Rent Relief Program, as of May 12, 2021:
- More than $110 million has been paid or is in the process of being paid.
- Assistance continues to grow with an average of $6 million approved per day in the last week, with marked increases seen weekly.
- TDHCA launched a public dashboard to report on the program’s performance, available at TexasRentRelief.com.
- Prioritizing those at risk of eviction.
- 5,121 eviction diversion applicants have been approved for approximately $44 million in assistance.
- Over 3,000 applications are under review or in final review before approval for payment.
- Of those under review, our team our team has reached out to the applicant and is awaiting a response in 40% of the cases.
- Tenants can provide eviction information within their application, which will put the application in the priority group. If the landlord files for eviction after the application is submitted, the tenant can call us at 833-989-7368 to provide their court docket number, precinct number and county of the court information so their application can be prioritized.
- Once the Texas Rent Relief Program begins processing an application for eligibility, the most significant delay is receiving documentation necessary to approve funding.
- Currently, over 101,000 applications have been submitted, with nearly 86% in initial review, final review, pending payment or paid.
- There are approximately 23,000 outstanding requests for missing documentation.
- Applicants need to ensure all email and phone contact information is correct, check spam email folders and/or voice messages and respond accordingly as Texas Rent Relief Program staff attempt to finalize applications for approval.
- The Texas Rent Relief Program employs more than 1,650 staff, most working 7 days a week to help applicants across all 254 Texas counties.
- Households must have incomes at or below 80% of the Area Median Income and meet other criteria to qualify for assistance. Full eligibility details at TexasRentRelief.com.
- The Texas Rent Relief Program can help renters with costs starting as far back as March 13, 2020:
- Past due, current and up to 2 months of expected rent costs
- Past due, current and up to 2 months of expected utility and home energy expenses
- After the initial 3 months of forward assistance, you can apply for 3 additional months of assistance if funds are still available
About the Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs
The Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs is committed to expanding fair housing choice and opportunities for Texans through the administration and funding of affordable housing and homeownership opportunities, weatherization, and community-based services with the help of for-profits, nonprofits, and local governments. For more information about fair housing, funding opportunities, or services in your area, please visit www.tdhca.state.tx.us or the Learn about Fair Housing in Texas page.
- 30 -