City Providing $1.2 Million In Rental Assistance For Austinites Affected By The Pandemic

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Damita Miller-Shanklin, Writer

Photo by: Sharon McCutcheon

The City of Austin will begin accepting applications Wednesday for a second round of rent help for people affected by the coronavirus pandemic. Applications open here at 8 a.m., and the city expects to start cutting rent checks the first week of September.

“The coronavirus endures, the economy struggles [and] renters are increasingly unable to pay their rent as worries mount about being evicted from their homes,” Rosie Truelove, director of Austin’s Neighborhood Housing and Community Development Department, said at a virtual press conference Monday.

The city will be pulling from a pot of $12.9 million in federal and local funds, more than 10 times the amount available for renters during the city’s first rent assistance program in May.

Applications will stay open until the money runs out, which city staff expects to happen early next year. Austin first announced the program last month.

Applicants must live in Austin, prove they’ve been financially impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic and be on a lease or some sort of contractual relationship for a rental property — this can include extended stay hotels. To qualify, renters must also earn less than 80% of the median family income, which amounts to $78,100 a year for a four-person household. People are eligible to apply regardless of their immigration status.

There are some restrictions: You cannot apply if you currently benefit from a federal housing subsidy, like a Section 8 voucher, or are a full-time student whose rent is paid by someone else.

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