AUSTIN, Texas - If paying rent is becoming impossible during the COVID-19 pandemic, more help is on the way.
Austin is expanding its rental assistance program to help keep people in their homes.
The city announced a $17 million program to help with rent assistance. While the previous program earlier this year was for one month and partially covered rent costs, this program will cover the entire rent for potentially three months.
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"We really want to do our due diligence, extensive outreach in order to reach communities that are really underrepresented," said Mandy DeMayo with the city's Neighborhood Housing and Community Development Department. "We will be paying the full contract rent amount. In the first program, we had tenants pay 30% of their rent and we also created a ceiling."
The program, Relief of Emergency Need for Tenants or RENT, will be offered in a lottery-type system for households that make less than 80 percent of the city's median family income.
"If your name is called in the lottery then they will be required to upload documentation on their income level and we have tried to make that as simple as possible," said DeMayo.
The program will cover one month's rent unless the household makes less than 30 percent of the median family income, or about $29,000 for a household of four, then the program will cover three months.
"The first month they apply give them their payment information the 2nd month they will have to provide that their income has not changed and they'll be eligible for 3 months of rental assistance," DeMayo said.
The program is budgeted to last about six months with part of the $17 million will go towards eviction prevention. The city plans to begin the program in August and those interested will be able to apply online.
For more information on the program, click here.
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