Houston to consider new $15 million round of rent relief; advocates continue to call for grace period

Houston City Hall aerial view
Houston City Council will consider a second round of $15 million rent relief Aug. 5. (Courtesy Visit Houston)

Houston City Council will consider a second round of $15 million rent relief Aug. 5. (Courtesy Visit Houston)

Houston renters could become eligible for a second round of rental relief funds in August.

City Council is set to vote on a $15 million allocation of Houston’s federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security, or CARES, Act funding Aug. 5.

Similar to the previous round of rent relief, funding will be distributed through BakerRipley. Landlords will apply for qualification first, and then, applications for tenants will open the following week. Dates for the application period will be scheduled after council votes on the proposal. The amount of aid supplied to renters will also be determined after the vote, according to council's agenda.

Harris County also announced a second $10 million boost to its rental relief fund July 29.

During the previous round, tenants could receive assistance for up to two months of missed rent. When applications opened to tenants for the first round of relief May 13, the fund was depleted within 90 minutes.

With demand remaining high and federal and state restrictions of evictions expiring, housing advocates have been calling for additional protections.

A joint Houston-Harris County housing stability task force with members representing tenants' and landlords' interests unanimously signed a letter calling for a 60-day grace period for renters to make up missed payments. Mayor Sylvester Turner has repeatedly rejected such calls and has not put the ordinance on council’s agenda in the two weeks since it was endorsed by the task force.

“Let's say someone owes $1,000. If you put in place a grace period with no additional support, in two to three months, instead of owing $1,000, they owe $3,000," Turner told reporters July 29. "You don't want to dig a deeper hole."

Proponents of the grace period, who have been calling for greater protection since the early stages of the pandemic, have noted that similar ordinances have been enacted in cities across Texas, and in some states, they existed as a standard tenant protection even before the coronavirus pandemic began.

“We’re thankful they’re taking action, but we need a holistic approach to protect renters,” said Jay Malone, political director of the Gulf Coast AFL-CIO. “We already had members who were sleeping in their cars, and unfortunately, there will be more in the next few weeks.”


Bludorn sets opening date in former Pass & Provisions, Antone's building

Bludorn will initially open for dinner service by reservation only.

The METRORapid Silver Line will bring expedited service to the Uptown area starting Aug. 23. (Matt Dulin/Community Impact Newspaper)
METRO on track to formally launch bus rapid transit service in Uptown on Aug. 23

The METRORapid Silver Line will use a dedicated bus-only lane to connect Uptown to the Northwest and Westpark/Lower Uptown transit centers.

(Courtesy AMC Theatres)
AMC Theatres to reopen Aug. 20 with 15-cent tickets

AMC Theatres—which has multiple locations in the Austin, Dallas-Fort Worth and Houston areas—will begin reopening its movie screens Aug. 20.

The facility in Tomball is being designed by Ziegler Cooper Architects. (Rendering courtesy Tomball Economic Development Corp.)
Karbach Brewing Co.'s Chris Juergen to offer brewery, restaurant in Tomball and more Houston-area news

Read the latest business and community news from the Greater Houston area.

County Judge Lina Hidalgo announced Aug. 12 a plan including best practices recommended for schools to open safely once the 2020-21 school year begins. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
Harris County judge: Opening local schools will not be safe ‘anytime in the near future’

Judge Lina Hidalgo announced today a plan including best practices recommended for schools to open safely once the 2020-21 school year begins.

According to the report, 380,174 total COVID-19 cases have been reported in children nationwide as of Aug. 6, which accounts for approximately 9.1% of all confirmed COVID-19 cases in the U.S. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
REPORT: COVID-19 cases in children increase by 90% nationwide in 1 month

As school district officials across the U.S. prepare for the start of the 2020-21 school year, 179,990 new COVID-19 cases were reported in children nationwide between July 9 and Aug. 6—an increase of 90%, according to a report compiled by The American Academy of Pediatrics and the Children's Hospital Association.

Houston-area home sales jump 23% year over year in July

July also set a record high median price for single-family homes, $271,830, a 8.7% year-over-year increase.

Harris County is exploring the creation of a new official in charge of elections, which would take effect Nov. 18, after the 2020 election cycle. (Graphic by Anya Gallant/Community Impact Newspaper)
Harris County moves forward with creation of elections administrator office

Harris County Commissioners Court is moving forward with the creation of an elections administrator office following the approval of a study Aug. 11.

The University of Texas will host football games at Darrell K. Royal Veterans Memorial Stadium this fall after an announcement from the Big 12 Conference on Aug. 12 that the fall sports season will continue. (Jack Flagler/Community Impact Newspaper)
After Big Ten and PAC-12 cancel, Big 12 announces fall sports season will roll on

The conference football season will begin Sept. 26, and fan capacity in stadiums will be up to each of the 10 member universities, according to the Big 12.

The Third Court of Appeals will not hear oral arguments in the Houston ISD board of trustees' case against the Texas Education Agency, but a final round of written arguments may be submitted. (Courtesy Fotolia)
Appeals court will not hear oral arguments in Houston ISD board takeover injunction

Instead the court is requesting a final round of briefs from each side to rule on the case.