A new $17.75 million rental assistance program, by the city of Austin and the Housing Authority of the City of Austin, includes nearly $13 million in direct rental assistance to eligible Austinites who have been financially impacted by COVID-19.
The Relief of Emergency Needs for Tenants, or RENT, Assistance Program, will also provide an additional $4 million in funding for tenant stabilization, eviction prevention and outreach efforts.
It is the second such assistance program offered by the city, which distributed nearly $1.3 million in rental assistance to more than 1,000 households in May, although demand far outpaced supply.
With this new round of funding, the city expects to help around double that number of households between now and January.
"We are thrilled to partner with HACA to move funds quickly to help as many Austin renters as possible, recognizing that while the $12.9 million provided by the RENT program is not enough to meet the overwhelming need, it is a proud step we can take to help Austin renters in need," Neighborhood Housing and Community Development Director Rosie Truelove said in a statement issued on Monday.
The program is open to households making at or below 80% of the area median family income, which is $78,100 for a four-person household. Eligible renters may apply through a portal starting Wednesday; for those who are randomly selected, the city will issue a payment directly to their landlord.
Last month, Austin Mayor Steve Adler and Travis County Judge Sam Biscoe extended a moratorium on evictions until Sept. 30 due to the pandemic.
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