Rent relief: How to apply for Houston's rental assistance program

Applications for Houston's rental assistance program open at 10 a.m. May 13. (File photo)
Applications for Houston's rental assistance program open at 10 a.m. May 13. (File photo)

Applications for Houston's rental assistance program open at 10 a.m. May 13. (File photo)

Updated post, August 17, 2020:

Houston and Harris County are offering a second round of rent relief in late August. Find out how to apply for the new programs here.

Original post, May 12, 2020:

Beginning May 13, Houston residents can apply for financial relief for missed rent in April and May due to coronavirus-related wage losses. Landlord applications for the $15 million city-run program opened May 7, and tenants of approved landlords will be eligible to apply for relief.

Here is what to know about the process.


Eligible renters must be:

  • Residents of the city of Houston

  • Behind on either or both April and May payments

  • Up to date on rent payments for all months of lease prior to April 2020

  • Able to confirm inability to pay is result of economic impact of the coronavirus

  • Earning an income less than 80% of the Area Median Income, or about less than $40,000 for one person or $60,000 for a family of four

  • Qualifying for federal assistance such as Medicaid, WIC, SNAP, Head Start or Veterans Affairs pension


How are renters selected?

Renters who live in units operated by approved landlords can apply online beginning 10 a.m. May 13. Renters are chosen on a first-come, first-serve basis, and applications are expected to fill quickly. The program is expected to assist up to 6,000 households.

Where do renters apply?

Electronic applications are available in English, Spanish, Vietnamese and Chinese at www.houstonrentassistance.org. Advocates can also apply on a renter's behalf by filling an extra form in addition to the application.

How much does the program cover?

Renters can receive up to $1,056 per month of missed rent.

What do renters need to apply?


  • A photo or copy of any photo ID with name and photo (such as a school ID, drivers license, passport, visa or work ID)or a utility bill in the renter’s name (uch as gas, water, electric, cable, phone or internet)

  • Copy of current lease

  • Knowledge of rent amount still owed to landlord for April and/or May 2020

Emma Whalen



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