Commissioners Court approves $15 million Emergency Rental Assistance Program to serve low-income residents in Harris County
HOUSTON, TX – Since the moratorium on evictions was lifted in May, almost 3,000 eviction cases have been filed in Harris County. In order to address the urgent eviction crisis in the midst of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, Commissioners Court on Tuesday approved a $15 million Emergency Rental Assistance Program to serve low-income residents in Harris County.
Researchers estimate that, were it not for the federal relief in this pandemic, the poverty rate would increase from 12.8% to 16.3% this year. Local governments, including Harris County, have continued to provide support where others can’t or won’t.
“We are facing an unprecedented public health and economic crisis. Harris County has been able to provide some direct relief, but it is apparent that there is still a great need for assistance to keep people in their homes and able to afford basic needs,” said Commissioner Ellis. “I am hoping my colleagues will join me to keep supporting financial assistance programs that will go directly to the people who need it most.”
The Emergency Rental Assistance Program will provide a one-time payment of $1,000 per household across all Harris County precincts to be used for rent and fee payments directly to landlords.
The Harris County Commissioners Court also unanimously voted in support of the COVID-19 Permanent Housing Initiative, which will bring together local organizations to house 5,000 people over two years. The Initiative will be funded by Harris County, the City of Houston and private philanthropy.
“Our local governments are taking a big and bold step to prevent people from becoming homeless and to get people off the streets during this pandemic. I am proud to support this collaborative effort and grateful to Coalition for the Homeless, The Way Home Coalition and all of their partners for their vision and coordinated response to this urgent need,” said Commissioner Ellis. “Housing is always important and more crucial than ever during this public health crisis.”