Rent relief: How to apply for the latest assistance in Houston and Harris County

Tenants in Houston and Harris County can apply for a second round of rent relief in Mid-August. (Courtesy Visit Houston)
Tenants in Houston and Harris County can apply for a second round of rent relief in Mid-August. (Courtesy Visit Houston)

Tenants in Houston and Harris County can apply for a second round of rent relief in Mid-August. (Courtesy Visit Houston)

Updated post Sept. 9, 2020:

Any renter whose landlord did not apply to the rent relief program program can call Baker Ripley directly for assistance, Mayor Sylvester Turner said Sept. 9. Those renters may be eligible for any additional funds the rent relief program receives from private donations.

For more information call: 281-272-6478

Updated post Sept 4, 2020:

The deadline for tenant and landlord rent relief applications has been extended indefinitely, Mayor Sylvester Turner said September 3. The rent relief fund will remain active until funds runout and will re-activate as donations and additional government assistance become available. The announcement came after the Centers for Disease Control enacted a nationwide eviction moratorium September 2. Although evictions may not be enforceable, tenants will need to pay missed rent when the moratorium is lifted at the end of 2020, according to the CDC.


Original post: August 14, 2020:

Renters in need of financial relief in Houston and Harris County have a couple new options and housing advocates say the aid will be more crucial than ever this month.

Residents can apply for either Houston or Harris County’s rent relief program but not both. Residents within Houston city limits may apply for Houston’s program and residents within Harris County but outside of Houston city limits may apply for Harris County’s program. Check address locations here.

City of Houston rent relief





Harris County rent relief





Who can apply?


Houston

Renters within Houston city limits can apply. If their landlord did not apply, the tenant will not be eligible for relief. Unlike the city’s first round of rent relief, which was depleted in less than two hours, this round of funding will not be allocated on a first-come, first-served basis. Instead, renters will be evaluated based on level of need. Renters’ household income prior to April 2020 must have been less than 80% of Houston’s area median income, which ranges from $44,150 for a one-person household, $63,050 for a four-person household and $83,250 for an eight-person household. Tenants who do not meet the income requirements may still be eligible if they are a member of another local or federal assistance program listed at this link.

Harris County

Applicants must meet the following requirements: the landlord must be registered as a program participant; the applicant must reside within Harris County; and the applicant's total household income must be at or below 50% Harris County's average median income, which ranges from $27,594 for a one-person household, $39,406 for a four-person household and $52,031 for an eight-person household. Applicants residing in the city of Houston within Precincts 1 and 2 are eligible. However, city of Houston residents within Precincts 3 and 4 are not eligible for the Harris County program.

Can renters who applied and received relief in May apply again?


Houston

Renters who applied for relief in a previous round of funding for either program may apply again; however, they cannot apply for funds from Harris County and Houston in the same round.

Harris County

Applicants cannot have received other Harris County-related COVID-19 assistance or rental assistance through the city of Houston's COVID-19 rental program. The applicant also cannot be currently receiving other governmental housing subsidies.

Can undocumented residents apply?


Houston

Yes. Unlike Houston’s first round of relief funds, this fund is supported by both federal dollars and private donations. Undocumented residents are eligible for non-federal funds.

Harris County

No. The fund is being reimbursed through the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act.

When do applications open?


Houston and Harris County

Similar to the city’s previous $15 million program, landlords apply first from Aug. 17-26. Tenants can begin applying Aug. 24-30 and will be able to search for their landlord or property management company’s name on the rent relief application.

Renters can apply at www.bakerripleyrenthlep.org.

Applications are available in English, Spanish, Vietnamese, Chinese, Korean, Filipino, French, Arabic, Hindi and Urdu.

What documents are needed?


Houston and Harris County

Applicants will need valid photo ID, proof of residence within applicable service area, documentation of lost wages and a copy of statements showing rental amounts due or a notice to vacate.

When will funds be available?


Houston

Applicants will be selected beginning Aug. 31. Landlords will receive notification of selected applicants by Sept. 8. If a landlord has at least one tenant who is approved for rental assistance, that landlord may not evict any tenants in that building through September, regardless of whether the other tenants applied for aid or or were denied aid.

Harris County

After the application process closes, eligible applicants will be entered into a lottery for randomized selection.

Other relief


Harris County is also offering a “Direct Assistance Program” aimed at meeting basic needs, including rent.


  • Total available: $25 million

  • Uses: Housing assistance, food, child care, utility assistance, health care and more

  • Eligibility: Must be at 60% of the average median income pre-COVID-19, before March 11; must be a Harris County resident; cannot have received city of Houston rental assistance; must be able to prove that household was affected negatively by COVID-19. Undocumented residents are not eligible.

  • Website: www.harriscountyrelief.org

  • Additional details: The program prioritizes residents from vulnerable Census tracts. Applications are not currently open but are expected to open in several weeks.

By Emma Whalen
Emma is Community Impact Newspaper's Houston City Hall reporter. Previously, she covered public health, education and features for several Austin-area publications. A Boston native, she is a former student athlete and alumna of The University of Texas at Austin.
By Shawn Arrajj
Shawn Arrajj serves as the editor of the Cy-Fair edition of Community Impact Newspaper where he covers the Cy-Fair and Jersey Village communities. He mainly writes about development, transportation and issues in Harris County.


MOST RECENT

The Texas Central rail connection from Dallas to Houston will feature a bullet train similar to this one. (Courtesy Texas Central Partners/Community Impact Newspaper)
Texas Supreme Court declines to review high-speed rail case, freeing company up to use eminent domain

Texas Central, the company looking to build a 236-mile high-speed rail line connecting Houston and Dallas, has been given a big win in an ongoing legal battle over whether the company is legally recognized as a "railroad company" under state law.

The East River 9 golf course and Riverside Houston restaurant will be overlooking the city of Houston skyline. (Rendering of Riverhouse Houston; Courtesy of Sterling Illustration)
Golf course, restaurant coming on bank of Buffalo Bayou

A new public golf course and restaurant are coming to Houston’s Fifth Ward on the bank of Buffalo Bayou in early 2022.

ribbon cutting
Nearly $400M project to boost Houston-area water supply by up to 500M gallons a day

The project has been in development for over 50 years and broke ground in 2017.

Following Hurricane Harvey, debris lined the streets in many parts of Harris County. (Danica Lloyd/Community Impact Newspaper)
After Department of Housing and Urban Development denies request, Texas General Land Office drafting plan to subaward Harris County $750M for flood mitigation

The Texas General Land Office now plans to subaward Harris County flood mitigation funding after the county was left out of recent Hurricane Harvey relief funds.

freedmens town houston
Freedmen’s Town named Houston’s first ‘Heritage District’

“It's so important for us to do everything we can to hold on to as much of that history and not lose it because it defines in large part who we are as a city, we have lost a lot but we have not lost it all,” Mayor Sylvester Turner said.

The Prescription Pop—made with Rittenhouse rye whiskey, Bar Spoons Dr. Pepper syrup, cherry bitters and Angostura bitters—is one of several craft cocktails on the menu at the new Daisy Buchanan Lounge in Montrose. (Courtesy Daisy Buchanan Lounge)
1920s-inspired Daisy Buchanan Lounge to open June 19 in Montrose

The new venture will offer craft cocktails and late night eats, while a bar area will boast a one-of-a-kind antique bar and a baby grand piano.

Harris County Pets facilitates pet adoptions, foster placements and more. (Courtesy Harris County Pets)
Harris County Pets temporarily waives adoption fees to control increase of population

Harris County Pets has exceeded its capacity to house its growing pet population, officials said.

Americans spent 44% more shopping on websites, including Amazon, in 2020 than in 2019. (Courtesy Amazon)
Surge in online shopping strains Houston’s distribution channels

Online spending in the U.S. was up 44% from 2019 to 2020, and transportation expert Bill Eisele said this uptick has put a strain on the region’s transportation system.

According to county officials, 40% of the $125 billion in damage caused by Hurricane Harvey took place within Harris County. (Shawn Arrajj/Community Impact Newspaper)
Texas General Land Office says it is 'not feasible' to request $750M in federal flood aid within 30 days

Houston-area officials ask for 30-day-dealine on the Texas General Land Office's formal request for $750 million in federal flood aid funding, but GLO says it is not possible.

Texas Central has signed a $16 billion contract with Webuild to lead the civil construction team that will build the train. (Rendering courtesy Texas Central)
Texas Central signs $16B construction contract for high-speed rail project

Texas Central could be one step closer to starting construction.

Russ Poppe, the Harris County Flood Control District executive director, will officially step down July 2 after nearly fifteen years in the position. (Courtesy Harris County Flood Control District)
Executive Director Russ Poppe announces resignation from Harris County Flood Control District

Harris County Flood Control District Executive Director Russ Poppe announced his resignation June 11.