HOUSTON – Thousands of Houston families struggling to pay April and May rent will get some financial relief soon.
The Houston City Council voted Wednesday morning in favor of a $15 million-dollar assistance program with an additional $8 million for Housing and Urban Development (HUD).
Starting May 7 at 10 a.m., landlords can use the new online portal, HoustonRentAssistance.com, created by Baker Ripley. Landlords must enroll in the rental assistance program in order for their tenants to apply for the funds. The relief program is not just for apartments but any property that has tenants who have on file. To qualify for the funds, Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner said landlords must agree to waive all late fees and penalties for the months of April and May.
Renters will be able to go online and apply for rental assistance starting May 13 at 10 a.m. Tenants must be current on their rent prior to the month of April to qualify. Applicants must have undergone financial hardship related to the pandemic, such as a loss of job. They must have a median income of approximately $40,000 for one person or $60,000 for a family of four.
The program is expected to help close to 7,000 families with an average of $1,000 per month they’re behind on rent. Mayor Turner said the federal money, which came from the CARES Act, with be dispersed on a first come first serve basis.
“There’s a huge, huge need and what we did was take some of the dollars and utilize them to meet the needs of some of the people,” Turner said. “But certainly not anywhere close to all the people that need assistance to all of the people in our city.” Mayor Turner said Houston’s undocumented community would not qualify for the program since the program was created with federal money. He said he hopes Congress will allocate additional funds set aside specifically for rent relief.
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