Update on Wednesday, March 15: The Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs announced Wednesday that it would stop taking applications for rental assistance at 11:59 a.m. on Thursday, March 16.
Originally, the Texas Rent Relief program planned to retake new applications for two weeks. But after more than 70,000 applications were submitted in the first 24 hours of reopening the application portal, the agency said in a statement that requests for assistance will likely outstrip the funds available.
Applicants facing eviction will be prioritized, the agency said, and those who have started filling out an application must finish uploading all required documents and submit the application before noon on Thursday.
The agency has about $96 million remining to help renters catch up on rent and utility bills. Under the Texas Rent Relief Program, renters facing financial hardship can apply for up to 18 months of rent and utility assistance.
Applications can be made via the online portal, or by calling 833-9TX-RENT (833-989-7368).
Those facing eviction should get legal help, go to any eviction hearing and stay in communication with their landlord and the court, a department press release states. Housing attorneys often remind people that they can’t be forced to leave until they’ve had a court hearing a judge signs an eviction order.
People who have never received rental assistance from the state program can apply. So can those who have previously gotten rent help, but only if they haven’t received the maximum 18 months-worth of funding.
The brief application window comes at a time when many Texas renters are struggling with major increases in rent and high inflation. Evictions