AUSTIN, Texas - The Travis County Emergency Rental Assistance Program opened up applications for those struggling to pay rent due to the pandemic about a month ago.
County leaders say they hope to start distributing payments in June just one week before landlords can start back up on the eviction process.
The county started accepting applications for its new rental assistance program back on April 19th so far 1,099 people have applied for help. "We are reviewing these applications and we hope to start getting payments out in June," said county executive Sherri Fleming.
On top of that, Travis County is also looking into a backlog of over 6,000 applicants from their previous rent program that has leaked over into this current program. Around 3,000 of those 6,000 applications are being considered for this round of help.
"We don't want to send some number of these people out on the streets at this point when we are trying to do the opposite," said Judge Andy Brown.
However, the County is up against a deadline. "June 1st is the new deadline of when evictions and that process can start back up again and we just want to make sure that they receive it in time," said Judge Brown.
Travis County plans to prioritize certain applicants based on need including:
- those unemployed 90 days prior to application
- income at or below 50% of the area median income
- live in county outside the city of Austin
- those applicants included in backlog who have not received an update on status or payment
The goal according to leaders is to keep people in their homes and focus on those who are five or months behind in rent.
"We are attempting to prevent more people from becoming homeless with this emergency rent assistance," said Brigid Shea, County Commissioner Precinct 2.
The county has over $10 million in this rent program. Applications are being accepted until September 1st, but with the number of people already waiting for their payment, it's looking like funding may dry up before then.
"We definitely have enough people in the queue today to expend all the money assuming they all meet the eligibility requirements," said Fleming.
To apply, click here.