Must-have Resources for Austin-area Renters During the COVID-19 Crisis
If you are a renter or looking to provide your tenants with resources, please download our Renter Resource Document above. It includes FAQs related to COVID-19 and contacts of local groups that may offer assistance.
Si usted es un inquilino o esta buscando proveer recursos a sus residents, por favor descargue nuestro documento de recursos para inquilinos arriba. La pagina incluye Preguntas Frecuentes acerca de COVID-19 y contactos de grupos locales que podrian ofrecerle ayuda.
Table of Contents
September 11, 2020 - Rent Relief Programs Available Beyond Austin
August 19, 2020 - ANNOUNCING RENT 2.0 : City of Austin launches $12.9M in Rental Assistance
May 1, 2020 - Neighborhood Housing Department Issues $1.2M in Rental Assistance To Be Administered by HACA
March 24, 2020 - Emergency Rental Assistance Fund from Congress
March 17, 2020 - Texas Workforce Commission Waives Certain Requirements for Unemployment Benefits Services
March 17, 2020 - Texas Offers Application For Economic Injury Disaster Loan to Help Small Businesses
Rent Relief Programs Available Beyond Austin
September 11, 2020 - Apartment residents in the City of Austin needing renal assistance can submit an application to the RENT 2.0 program, but what about residents outside of the City of Austin or in the surrounding area? Fortunately, there are programs available in those areas for residents economically impacted by the pandemic that can provide rent payments and related utility expenses.
All apartment properties are strongly encouraged to direct their residents to these rental assistance programs. In fact, all available rent relief programs have taken on a heightened importance under the new federal rules preventing evictions issued by the Center for Disease Control (CDC) because for residents to claim protection from eviction they must declare that they have “used best efforts to obtain all available government assistance for rent or housing,”
Travis County Family Support Services Division provides rental assistance. Call 211 or 512-854-9020 or visit the Travis County Family Support Services website at https://www.traviscountytx.gov/health-human-services/divisions/family-support-services
Williamson County is working with social service agencies to handle applications for the Wilco Forward Phase III Assistance Program. All residences assisted must be located in Williamson County, but not in city limits of Austin. The assistance can include up to the rent amount based on the lease agreement plus late fees for up to a total of three months and/or up to $1,500 of utility assistance per residence. All applicants must show evidence that the assistance is needed due to issues caused by COVID-19. These agencies will provide the rent and/or utility assistance to a landlord, property management company, or utility company between March 1 through December 30. For a Wilco Forward Phase III Assistance Program brochure in English click HERE. For a brochure in Spanish click HERE.
Round Rock Area Serving Center serving Round Rock, Brushy Creek/Fern Bluff MUD, Hutto areas outside of Georgetown ISD, zip code 78717 that is not in the city limits of Austin Call 512-244-2431 or visit www.rrasc.org
The Caring Place serving Georgetown, Andice, Bartlett, Florence, Granger, Jarrell, Jonah, Schwertner, Walburg, Weir, Hutto areas within Georgetown ISD Call 512-943-0700 or visit www.caringplacetx.org
The Salvation Army serving Cedar Park, Coupland, Leander, Liberty Hill, Taylor, Thrall, and all other areas of Williamson County not served by the other two agencies, zip codes 78729 and 78750 in Williamson County but not in the city limits of Austin http://salvationarmyaustin.org/williamson-county-service-center/ or call 512-943-8421
Community Action Inc. of Central Texas provides utility assistance and some rental assistance in certain situations. https://www.communityaction.com/ or call 512-392-1161
ANNOUNCING RENT 2.0: City of Austin launches $12.9M in Rental Assistance
August 19, 2020 - Applications now being accepted! This week, the City of Austin announced the Relief of Emergency Needs for Tenants (RENT) Assistance Program to provide rent assistance for Austin renters financially impacted by COVID-19. The RENT Assistance Program, a partnership between the City’s Neighborhood Housing and Community Development Department (NHCD) and the Housing Authority of the City of Austin (HACA), opened the application portal on August 19th at 8:00 a.m.CST and it will remain open through January 2021, or until funds are depleted.
Below you will find the link that includes all materials to help you inform, amplify, and promote the RENT program to your residents.
Click here to View and Download RENT Marketing Kit and Materials
RENT Marketing Kit Materials Include:
· RENT Program Flyer & Poster (with translations for top 9 languages)
· Social Media Graphics (with translations for top 9 languages)
These resources can also be downloaded from our COVID-19 Resources Page under Must-have Resources for Austin Area Rental Housing Industry Professionals.
For more information visit www.austintexas.gov/rent. After applications open August 19th at 8:00 a.m.CST, call the RENT Call Center at 512.488.1397 Monday through Friday from 8:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.CST, or email the RENT at AustinRENT@cvrassociates.com.
Neighborhood Housing Department Issues $1.2M in Rental Assistance To Be Administered by HACA
May 1, 2020 - Applicants must apply 9:00 am May 4th through 11:59 pm May 6th
The City of Austin Neighborhood Housing and Community Development Department (NHCD) is providing $1.2 million in emergency rental assistance to Austinites affected by the COVID-19 outbreak to be administered through a contract with the Housing Authority of the City of Austin (HACA).
The Relief of Emergency Needs for Tenants (RENT) program will distribute one-time rental subsidies through a lottery system similar to HACA’s Housing Choice Voucher program. Residents must apply for the lottery through HACA’s RENT website at www.atxrenthelp.org starting May 4th at 9:00 a.m. and ending at 11:59 p.m. on May 6th. More information is available www.atxrenthelpinfo.org.
“Funding for this emergency rental assistance is being accessed from the City’s local funds. In this time of pandemic and economic uncertainty, Austin families need the security of safe and stable housing,” said Rosie Truelove, Director of NHCD.
“While we recognize that $1.2 million can only go so far, we are committed to our ongoing efforts to identify and access additional help for these families as soon as we possibly can. Providing this rental assistance is something we can do right now,” Truelove said.
HACA will manage the intake and processing of applications, determine applicant eligibility, and—upon approval—direct payments to landlords to help cover tenants’ rent obligations.
“The RENT Program is expected to help more than 1,000 families in our community stay in their homes during this difficult time,” said Michael Gerber, CEO of the Housing Authority of the City of Austin. “We applaud the Mayor and City Council providing critical funds for this emergency rental assistance program. While the needs in our community will likely far exceed the rent help available, HACA is committed to moving funds quickly to help as many Austin families as possible."
Applicants not selected in the lottery will receive written notification from HACA, with a list of additional potential alternative resources. Should additional funding become available, all eligible Austin renters would be able to apply for subsequent lotteries or programs to ensure the broadest distribution of rental assistance possible.
Eligibility for Rental Assistance
Eligibility is limited to City of Austin households that are at or below 80 percent of the Median Family Income (see table below) who can document both a financial impact by COVID-19 and need of rent relief (e.g., paystubs, unemployment notice, notice of rent due, etc.). Applicants must also demonstrate that they are party to an existing lease agreement and are not recipients of other rental assistance programs.
FY 2020 Income Limit Category
Amount of Assistance Available
The amount of rental assistance will be determined either by the number of bedrooms in the apartment OR the actual monthly rent amount (per the current lease), whichever is LOWEST minus the 30 percent of the household’s gross monthly income (see table below).
Rental Assistance Limits by Number of Bedrooms in Unit
City of Austin Mayor Steve Adler praised the collaborative nature of the program.
"With so many out of work, the cries for rent relief are loud and they are being heard. Thank you to the Housing Authority and the Austin Apartment Association for helping to rapidly deploy the RENT relief program for those in greatest need. This is our community coming together to get crucial work done," said Adler.
Adler’s remarks were echoed by Austin Council Member for District 4 and Chair of the City of Austin Housing and Planning Committee Greg Casar.
“Addressing the crisis is a community issue. No one should lose their home because of the COVID crisis,” said Casar. “The City is here to help with the RENT program to provide Austinites the support they need paying May rent. For us to protect everyone’s housing stability, we also need landlords in the community to look for ways to offer additional relief through decreased rents and relaxed rules."
Similar agreement was expressed by Austin Apartment Association Executive Vice President Emily Blair.
“Austin Apartment Association member staffs are working closely with families in their communities to help connect people with resources and meet immediate needs, so we know many people who need these funds,” said Austin Apartment Association Executive Vice President Emily Blair.
“Our property managers will be eager to share this rental assistance source with their residents in need. On behalf of the hundreds of thousands of residents in our communities, we thank the City of Austin for helping Austin renters remain safe in their homes and helping keep the City’s housing supply stable,” Blair said.
For more information about the RENT program, call or text the HACA RENT Call Center phone number at (512) 400-4275. Visit www.atxrenthelpinfo.org or www.austintexas.gov/RENT for more information.
Emergency Rental Assistance Fund from Congress
March 24, 2020 - Although not yet passed by Congress, the National Apartment Association (NAA) and the National Multifamily Housing Council (NMHC) are working to secure passage of a federal relief package that includes an emergency rental assistance fund to help families struggling to afford rent and utilities like those in Austin because of a pay cut or job loss associated with the coronavirus. They ask that any package approved be quickly dispatched and available to residents in all cities and counites. Further, our organization is seeking supplemental financial assistance for both HUD and Rural Housing Service programs to ensure that sufficient funds are available to maintain existing agreements that house nearly 5 million households nationwide.
TWC Waives Certain Requirements for Unemployment Benefits
March 17, 2020 - The Texas Workforce Commission has now waived certain requirements to receive unemployment benefits. If your employment has been impacted by COVID-19, you can apply for unemployment benefits immediately. Applicants no longer have to be out of work for one full week before applying for benefits and applicants no longer have to register for work search and meet a minimum number of work search activities per week. Click here to learn more!
Texas Offers Application For Economic Injury Disaster Loan to Help Small Businesses
March 17, 2020 - If you are a small business owner and your business has been affected by COVID-19, the State of Texas has prepared an application for an Economic Injury Disaster Loan declaration that would give small business owners the opportunity to apply for disaster assistance loans from the U.S. Small Business Administration through the economic injury disaster loan program.
Economic Injury Disaster Loans provide small businesses with working capital loans of up to $2 million to help meet financial obligations and operating expenses until normal operations resume. Learn more here about how to apply.
From AAA Members
From Johns Hopkins, CDC and EPA