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Harris County’s “Uplift Harris” Guaranteed Income Program Application Postponed, Details Under Review

Harris County officials announced on Monday that the launch of the online application portal for the “Uplift Harris” guaranteed income program has been postponed until later this week. The initiative, which aims to provide $500 per month for 18 months to low-income families, will undergo a review by county leaders at the upcoming Commissioners Court meeting on Tuesday. Further program details are expected to be released in the coming days, with a focus on clarifying eligibility criteria.

Commissioner Rodney Ellis’ office for Harris County Precinct 1 confirmed that commissioners will use the upcoming session to “iron out” specifics related to eligibility and program implementation. The delay in the launch allows for a more thorough examination of the “Uplift Harris” program to ensure it effectively addresses the needs of the community.

Under the program, approximately 1,928 eligible residents will receive direct cash assistance over the course of 18 months, providing financial relief for families facing economic challenges. The funds are intended to cover essential expenses such as rent, groceries, transportation, housing, utilities, and healthcare. Monthly payments will be distributed randomly, with applicants selected from the county’s most underserved neighborhoods.

Last summer, Harris County officials identified priority areas through specific zip codes, including 77050, 77093, 77051, 77060, 77028, 77033, 77026, 77081, 77547, and 77091. These zip codes encompass various neighborhoods, including Gulfton, Galena Park, Sunnyside, Acres Homes, and more.

To be eligible for the “Uplift Harris” program, households must be living 200 percent below the federal poverty line. This equates to an individual earning $29,160 per year or a family of four with a maximum income of $60,000 annually. Applicants must be 18 years or older to apply, and additional recipients will be selected from the county’s Public Health ACCESS program, which offers specialized services for vulnerable individuals, focusing on education, employment, healthcare, and housing.

Funded through $20.5 million in American Rescue Plan Funds, the “Uplift Harris” program received approval from Harris County leaders in June 2023. Similar initiatives have been launched in Los Angeles County and Chicago.

Residents are encouraged to submit online applications, with notifications expected via email or phone in mid-February. The initial payments are slated to begin in March or April, distributed through direct deposit or on a prepaid reloadable debit card. For more details on the program, interested individuals can find additional information here.