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City Council Approves $20 million Rent Relief Program to Help Houstonians Who Cannot Pay Rent Because of the COVID-19 Pandemic

HOUSTON –  Mayor Sylvester Turner and Houston City Council today approved a $20 million rent relief package to help Houstonians who cannot pay rent due to economic challenges caused by COVID-19.

Funding for the City’s second rental relief package includes $15 million from the the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act, also known as the CARES Act, and $5 million from private donors: $2 million from the Houston Endowment$1 million from the Greater Houston COVID-19 Recovery Fund$1 million from the Kinder Foundation$1 million from Texans owner and co-founder Janice McNairThe City plans to set aside money for Lone Star Legal Aid and for those who need assistance, but do not qualify for CARES Act dollars.

“I want to stress that there is no perfect formula, and we know there are Houstonians with a lot of needs as a result of the pandemic. This program will provide relief to thousands of families,” said Mayor Turner. “If you are at the lowest level, and you are not able to pay rent, pretty much the only place left is on the street. So we want to make sure people don’t find themselves forced out of their homes and on the street.”

Criteria to qualify for rental relief program:must live in the City of Houston and be behind on rent payments for August or prior months and cannot pay the rent due to economic challenges caused by COVID-19must live in the City of Houston and behind on rent payments for August or prior months and cannot pay the rent due to economic challenges caused by COVID-19Even if only one tenant in an apartment complex qualifies for rental assistance, the no eviction rule applies to all tenants on the propertyFor more information visit HoustonRentAssistance.org.Mayor Turner is also asking the landlords to waive late fees and interest on late payments, agree to a payment plan and refrain from evictions through Sept. 2020.

The mayor thanked the Houston Apartment Association and BakerRipley for their work to make the rental relief program successful.

“I am urging congress to put more money for rent relief in the second CARES Act package and I am calling on our state leadership to address the needs of Texans,” said Mayor Sylvester Turner. “Cities cannot do it alone. We are trying our best, but we should not be the only resource looking out for families and business that are suffering because of COVID-19. A lot of people helped get us over the finish line today and I want to thank city council.