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Texas reopens applications for rent relief program
By Olivia Leach,
(CBSNewsTexas.com) – There's some good news for Texans in need of help paying their rent and utility bills.
The Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs says they're accepting applications again for their Texas Rent Relief program.
Kelvin Brown, CEO of Dallas-based Housing Crisis Center, says the need for rental assistance is still high.
"What COVID magnified for us was just the number of people who were already at risk of being homeless who were one paycheck away from not being able to pay rent or mortgage or utility bills," Brown said.
The Housing Crisis Center offers a program for rent and utility assistance.
Just this year alone, Brown says they've received 1,600 calls from people needing help. He knows firsthand what it's like for the families – he experienced homelessness as a child.
"I'm very surprised that the demand is still so high for it," said Brown. "You would think that what our agency has disbursed in the last two to three years more than a million dollars for at least our immediate community, it would be less, the demand would be less but that hasn't been the case at all."
Now, there's additional assistance for those in need. The TRR program reopened its application process for Texans seeking help to pay rent and utility bills.
$96 million is available – but the timeframe to apply is limited, from March 14 to March 28.
"I'm excited to hear that they're a resource as we continue to help folks if we can't help them we can refer them to them," said Brown.
The TRR application portal had such a high volume of applications on Tuesday, it crashed.
Some users were unable to start a new application and were experiencing delayed load times. TRR said their team was working throughout the day to fix the issues. Later in the day, a message was posted on the TRR website saying that the issues had been resolved and that users who were not able to access the application earlier should try again.
First time applicants may be eligible for up to 18 months of help with their rent and utility bills. Returning applicants who haven't yet received the maximum allowed 18 months of assistance can submit a request for additional funding. Applicants who are facing evictions will be prioritized.
But the funds could dry up fast.
"I think $96 million will go very fast based on what I know and what we've seen," said Brown.
To apply for rent or utility assistance through the program, click here . Eligible households will be able to submit an application on that website through Tuesday, March 28 at 11:59 p.m.