A new program launch date, online application period and program eligibility requirements were finalized by Harris County Public Health and other county officials on Jan. 9 after a delayed start to the low-income assistance program, Uplift Harris.

About the program

The updated application period will begin on Jan. 12 and close on Feb. 2 at 11:59 p.m.
  • Online applications will be reviewed on an ongoing basis, not on a first-come, first-served basis, according to a news release.
HCPH Executive Director Barbie Robinson spoke with Harris County commissioners about the program details.
  • The $500 payments are expected to go out in March and last for 18 months
  • As applications are processed on a rolling basis and participants get approved, first payments could be expected three weeks from the approval period
At least 1,900 eligible households living below 200% of the federal poverty line, or approximately $60,000 for a family of four, will be selected randomly from two cohorts.

What you need to know

Additional eligibility requirements were added to the initiative that will become the fifth-largest publicly funded cash assistance project in the country—immigrants lacking permanent legal status will not be eligible for the program. Applicants must be:
  • At least 18 years old or older
  • U.S. citizens or lawful permanent residents, also referred to as "green card" holders
Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo said because Uplift Harris uses federal funding, finding other funds to support a similar initiative for immigrant populations in the U.S. could take a long time.

"What I do commit to do, again in the spirit of supporting the economic growth of our region, is to explore ways in which we can identify other funds, perhaps private funds to where we can have a similar initiative. This would take a long time. It's not something that we'll have a program for the undocumented population anytime soon," Hidalgo said.

The first cohort, which will be around 70% of the participants, will be based on those who live in the targeted ZIP codes:
  • 77026, 77028, 77033, 77050, 77051, 77060, 77081, 77091, 77093 or 77547

The second cohort is for active participants within Harris County’s Accessing Coordinated Care and Empowering Self Sufficiency—or ACCESS—Harris program. Around 30% of the participants will be selected from this population of applicants, according to the program website.

  • All applications must be submitted online, according to the program’s website, since there are no paper applications. All eligibility documents can be uploaded as photos.
What happened

Harris County commissioners went into an executive session meeting during a commissioners court meeting Jan. 9 to discuss program eligibility criteria. Precinct 3 Commissioner Tom Ramsey opted out of attending the executive session, instead asking if the discussion could be public. His request was denied.

Get involved

More information on the eligibility requirements, including a link to the application and live updates on the program, are available on the Uplift Harris website, https://uplift.harriscountytx.gov.