Travis County establishes new emergency rental assistance program for 2021

Photo of a sign that says "Travis County"
Travis County received $10.7 million in federal funds to help residents with emergency rent payments. (Kelli Weldon/Community Impact Newspaper)

Travis County received $10.7 million in federal funds to help residents with emergency rent payments. (Kelli Weldon/Community Impact Newspaper)

Travis County commissioners voted April 13 to establish a new program for emergency rental assistance, funded with $10.7 million from the federal Emergency Rental Assistance Program of the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act of 2021.

The program is intended to provide relief to Travis County residents struggling to pay rent as an effect of the coronavirus pandemic as well as low-income residents experiencing housing instability. Applications for aid are set to open April 19 and remain open until Sept. 1 or until funds run out. Online and physical applications will be available, staff said.

“It's designed to assist households most in need,” County Executive Sherry Fleming said.

Fleming said the county will prioritize several groups of applicants: those who have been unemployed for at least 90 days prior to applying, those whose income is at or below 50% of the area median and those who already applied to the county’s previous COVID-19 rental assistance program in 2020 without receiving aid. Around 2,000 applications from the county’s previous program will likely carry over to this one, according to Fleming.

Additionally, the county plans to prioritize residents who live outside of the city of Austin, which has established its own emergency rental assistance program from ERAP funds.


Applicants may receive help with up to 12 months of overdue rent, three months of prospective rent and some limited utility payment assistance. Additional federal funds to help renters are expected to arrive in May via the American Rescue Plan Act. Travis County expects to receive $123.5 million from ARPA in May, some of which may be contributed to the ERAP program.

Most Austin and Travis County renters are currently protected from eviction by local moratoriums that extend through May 1. A federal moratorium extends through June.

“We must keep these eviction protections in place to protect the health and safety of our community while we work to rapidly vaccinate all of Travis County,” County Judge Andy Brown said in a statement when he extended the moratorium. “At the same time, we are working hard to expand access to rental assistance to mitigate the financial burden COVID-19 has placed on renters and landlords.”
By Olivia Aldridge
Olivia is the reporter for Community Impact's Central Austin edition. A graduate of Presbyterian College in upstate South Carolina, Olivia was a reporter and producer at South Carolina Public Radio before joining Community Impact in Austin.


MOST RECENT

Austin Bouldering Project currently operates a gym on Springdale Road in Austin. (Courtesy Austin Bouldering Project)
Local rock-climbing gym to open new location in South Austin this fall

The new gym will have comparable offerings to the original in East Austin.

Tents have become a common sight throughout Austin including along Cesar Chavez Street downtown, but with the passage of Proposition B the city may now consider moving unsheltered homeless individuals to designated sites. (Ben Thompson/Community Impact Newspaper)
Austin City Hall notebook: Designated campsites for the homeless are back on the table

City staff had previously dismissed developing official camping locations in 2019, but new directives from City Council this week could revive the concept in Austin.

Wag-A-Bag is headquartered in Round Rock. (Megan Cardona/Community Impact Newspaper)
Wag-A-Bag to operate under new ownership, name; Austin, TxDOT at odds over I-35 overhaul; and more top Central Texas news

Read the most popular business and community news from the past week from the Austin area.

The Highland Tech Center is an office complex that finished redevelopment in March. (Courtesy Aquila Commercial)
North Central Austin business news: Office complex opens in Highland, picnic meals offered in the parks and more

Mes Amis is an outdoor dining service that provides baskets with French-style cuisine for picnics. Two new fitness studios, Hive + Honey and Regymen, are also now open.

Stephanie Hayden-Howard will become an assistant city manager in Austin on May 10. (Jack Flagler/Community Impact Newspaper)
Role changes coming for health officials leading Austin-Travis County COVID-19 efforts

Dr. Desmar Walkes will take over as Austin's next medical director and local health authority as Dr. Mark Escott and Stephanie Hayden-Howard transition to new roles with the city.

Barton Springs Pool, shown here in March 2020, will require reservations for residents wishing to visit after 8 a.m. starting on May 17. (Community Impact Newspaper staff)
Barton Springs Pool will require reservations starting May 21

Visitors who want to visit the pool after 8 a.m. will have to make a reservation for a two-hour block of time.

Road closure stock image
TxDOT to demolish I-35 ramp in North Austin early Saturday morning

State crews will perform controlled implosions of the northbound I-35 to northbound US 183 flyover between 6-8 a.m. in the morning on May 8 and May 15.

A pilot Austin Police Department cadet class is now set to commence in June under an updated training regimen and with additional city and community oversight on the APD academy's culture and curriculum. (John Cox/Community Impact Newspaper)
Austin City Council votes to restart APD cadet training in June, with framework for ongoing reviews of pilot academy

The Austin Police Department's 144th cadet class will now kick off training next month, with continued oversight of APD's instruction and culture throughout the 34-week academy process.

Holland Photo Imaging celebrates 40 years in business this year. (Courtesy Holland Photo Imaging)
The latest business news in South Central Austin

1. Holland Photo Imaging, located at 2125 Goodrich Ave., Ste. A, Austin, is celebrating its 40th anniversary in the community this year. Founded in 1981 by Pete Holland, the business has been owned by residents Brian and Morgan Morrison since 2006. Holland Photo Imaging offers film processing, printing, framing, photo restoration and archiving services. 512-442-4274. www.hollandphoto.com

A sign advertises a property for rent in Austin on May 6. Local eviction orders remain in place through August 1 protecting most tenants from eviction. (Jack Flagler/Community Impact Newspaper)
Local eviction moratoriums remain in effect despite federal judge’s decision

The May 5 ruling from a U.S. District Court judge striking down a federal moratorium does not affect orders in place in Austin or Travis County.