Texas Emergency Rental Assistance Programs

Texas ERAP Treasury Programs:

The Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs (TDHCA) has received approximately $1.3 billion in Emergency Rental Assistance funds from the newly passed Coronavirus Relief Bill Rental Assistance Program. TDHCA is using the funds to help Texas renters pay rent and utility bills (including past due rent and utilities).

The County has established a new ERA program, in compliance with federal, state and local guidelines, to provide assistance to eligible households through this new rental assistance program. If you are a Fort Bend County resident and meet income eligibility requirements, you are encouraged to apply for this program. The ERA Program will provide rent and/or utility assistance for up to twelve (12) months, or until funds are exhausted. This a NEW program, therefore you must apply to be considered.

The City of Houston and Harris County are working together to provide $157 million in rent and utilities assistance to families who are struggling due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The funds will be distributed by two agencies with established experience in helping people in need: BakerRipley and Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston. To make the process as smooth as possible, a group of community agencies will serve as navigators, helping families complete their applications.

The McLennan County Emergency Rental Assistance Program (MCERA) aids with rent payments to help families-in-crisis who have been affected by reduction in income, incurred significant costs, other financial hardship due, directly or indirectly, to COVID-19. To avoid an eviction, the MCERA program will assist families with rental assistance limited to 12 months. Assistance includes help for families who qualify and meet income guidelines established by the U. S. Department of the Treasury with rental and utility assistance to prevent and avoid evictions and homelessness.

Texas CARES+ Programs:

  • State of Texas Tenant Based Rental Assistance Program 

Governor Greg Abbott announced Friday that $11.3 million in rental assistance will be easier to access for Texans in need during the COVID-19 crisis. Eligible beneficiaries include households at or below 80 percent AMI based on their current circumstances, and who have been economically impacted by COVID-19,

Governor Greg Abbott announced the allocation of over $171 million in funding from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act which will primarily be used for targeted rental assistance for Texans at risk of becoming homeless due to eviction. Out of these funds, $167 million will go to targeted rental assistance. Cities, counties, and nonprofits will manage the application process. Although the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development needs to approve the funding, the state estimates that the money will be available by the winter holidays in communities with existing rental assistance programs, and by the start of 2021 in the rest of Texas.

The Texas Emergency Rental Assistance Program (TERAP) helps eligible Texas tenants economically impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic stay in their homes, by providing up to six months of rental assistance. Assistance is available for both tenants who have been sued for eviction or tenants struggling to pay their rent. Assistance can be used to pay the full contracted rent within the limits noted below and within the written guidelines of the Administrator, for at least one month of rental payments going forward and up to five months of arrears, for up to a total of six months. Any rental payments going forward must be for consecutive months.

  • Rental, Mortgage or Utility Assistance in reponse to COVID-19: City of Amarillo 

The below Application & links are for the City of Amarillo Citizens to apply for assistance only if you have been directly affected by COVID-19 (Examples – Loss of wages due to company shutdown, hours cut due to Covid-19, having to be quarantined causing you to miss work). Funding allows assistance to the first 100 qualified applicants for Rental/Mortgage or Utility assistance.

Panhandle Community Services has received $3 million to help those hit hard by the pandemic. The organization hopes these funds will help families in 26 counties get back on their feet. The money will be used to help residents pay utility bills, medical costs, and much more.

The United Way Amarillo & Canyon has established the COVID-19 Emergency Relief Fund to provide direct aid to those affected. In response to this, the emergency relief fund will be allocated to local 501c3 nonprofit agencies who directly impact the lives of individuals who experience lack of basic needs being met. i.e., food, shelter, utilities, etc.

After distributing $1.2 million in May, the City of Austin’s Neighborhood Housing and Community Development Department announced Tuesday $17 million will be available to help renters in the second round of the Relief of Emergency Needs for Tenants (RENT) Program.

On June 4, the City of Austin approved phase 2 of the Relief in a State of Emergency program. $10 million in Relief in a State of Emergency (RISE) 2.0 funds were approved to go to individuals in Austin and Travis County through RISE 2.0. On September 14, 2020 the application opened for RISE 2.0 emergency assistance for those who are facing financial hardships due to COVID-19.  The application will close on September 21, 2020 and funds will be distributed in $2,000 increments per household based on a randomized selection process. The program provides immediate financial assistance through ACH transfers, pre-paid debit and credit cards. Unlike the first phase, which distributed money to social service agencies who then provided aid, in phase 2 the city of Austin provided assistance directly to individuals.

During the first phase of Austin’s RISE program, $15 million in RISE funds were distributed to 20 nonprofits and social service agencies. The program services could include provide mortgage and rental assistance but were not limited to that.

The City of Austin Neighborhood Housing and Community Development Department announced Friday that they are providing $1.2 million in emergency rental assistance to Austinites affected by the COVID-19 outbreak.

The first initiative in the Displacement Prevention Portfolio to be rolled out in 2020 is a solicitation for $750,000 over three years for Tenant Stabilization Services that invites non-profit organizations to help tenants with housing stability services, such as rental assistance and eviction prevention support.

Bexar County leaders, trying to plot a path forward through the COVID-19 pandemic, launched a $4 million rental assistance program. The fund will provide up to three months of assistance for people affected by furloughs, layoffs or other income losses resulting from the pandemic. It will be overseen by the Housing Authority of Bexar County.

On May 11, the Collin County Commissioners Court approved the distribution of direct financial assistance for housing, utilities, and groceries.

  • City of Dallas Rental and Mortgage Assistance Program

The Dallas City Council approved a mortgage and rental assistance program that would provide around $13.7 million for rental assistance.

Dallas residents impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic have access to rent relief assistance through the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. The Emergency Rent Assistance program, funded by the CARES Act, is a federally funded initiative designed to help low-income households and persons who have been adversely impacted by COVID-19 through the loss of their employment income or who sustained a reduction in income and are delinquent in paying rent.

  • Dallas County Emergency Housing Assistance Program (EHAP) 

Residents of Garland, Mesquite, Grand Prairie, Irving and other cities in Dallas County, except the city of Dallas, can request economic relief to pay rent, mortgage or public services for three months.

Denison is dedicating $150,000 to assist residents financially impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. The city announced last week that it will partnering with community non-profits for a new residential assistance program aimed at providing monetary relief during the pandemic.

The United Way of Denton County has created a referral partnership with the city of Denton to help people who have been financially impacted by COVID-19 get access with rent assistance, food and other community needs. The expanded program will be funded by a $50,000 contribution from the city.

  • Greater East Texas Community Action Program Rental Assistance Program 

Citing the financial burdens imposed on residents by the COVID-19 pandemic, the Greater East Texas Community Action Program is pushing its rent and energy assistance programs to people in the region. “We are making a special effort to reach people who have never applied,” said Teresa Land, division director for GETCAP. “Households may be facing disconnections or service interruptions and assistance is possible.”

The Community Development Block Grant-Coronavirus (CDBG-CV) Emergency Rental Assistance Program (CDBG-CV ERAP) has been developed to prevent, prepare for, and respond to the coronavirus (COVID-19). This program will provide up to three (3) months of emergency rental assistance for qualifying families living inside the city limits and will only be granted one time per household.

The City of El Paso has approved $10 million in federal funds for a Rental Assistance Program which will help residential tenants in the City of El Paso who are behind in paying their rent and are at risk of eviction because of a direct economic impact of COVID-19. Eligible landlords may apply for up to 3 months of past due rent per eligible tenant up to $1,000 per month in accordance with the terms and conditions of the program. The City of El Paso’s EP Rent Help Program is being administered by the Paso del Norte Community Foundation, Under One Roof and other non-profit partners.

Renters in El Paso may be eligible for up to six months of future rent assistance through the Texas Home Program and Under One Roof, a local non-profit established through the El Paso Apartment Association. Tenants renting an apartment, duplex, or other property where they pay rent may apply for up to six months of rent. To qualify, your household income must be at or below 80 percent of the Adjusted Median Family Income and have lost income due to COVID-19. Payments will be made directly to landlords.

  • El Paso General Assistance Program: El Paso County 

CARES Act assistance is available for individuals and families who live outside City limits of El Paso, can demonstrate loss of income due to COVID-19 pandemic and meet 150% of Federal Poverty Level.
At this time, all assistance through General Assistance Program will focus on rent/mortgage and limited water utility assistance from CARES Act funding for areas outside the city limit of El Paso until further notice.

Fort Bend County approved $19.5 million of funding to assist renters and landlords in paying rent, mortgage, and utilities during the Coronavirus pandemic. Funding for the County’s rental assistance program comes through the Federal CARES Act. The funding will be implemented in 3 phases of $6,500,000 each.

The Greater Houston COVID-19 Recovery Fund is distributing $2.3 million in its final round of grants aimed at supporting the most vulnerable families and individuals in the Houston community, This includes Outlying Counties Rental Assistance ($500,000): A grant will provide emergency rental assistance to residents in the following counties through local nonprofits

The city of Fort Worth is preparing to distribute about $15.4 million in federal funding to a few thousand families struggling because of the coronavirus pandemic. The money will help pay rent and utilities.

The primary purpose of the Federally funded HOME Investment Partnership Program (HOME) Short-Term Tenant-Based Rental Assistance Program (ST-TBRA) is to provide three (3) months of rental, security deposit and/or utility assistance to households that have experienced financial hardship because of reduction or loss of income due to COVID-19.  Under the ST-TBRA program, the City can assist households with up to 100% of the payment for rent, security deposits and utility bills.  This program does allow for the payment of back rent and utilities originally due on or after June 1, 2020.

The Harlingen City Commission today approved the creation of a Hardship Assistance Program that will help residents that find themselves in a financial bind due to the Coronavirus. The program was unanimously approved during a Special Meeting of the Harlingen City Commission held earlier today and earmarks $225,000 to help Harlingen residents who have overdue utility, rent, or mortgage bills.

  • Greater Houston COVID-19 Rental Assistance Program: Harris County 

According to Baker Ripley, Harris County is providing $40 million, while the city of Houston is providing $15 million, along with another $5 million in private funds. They estimate around 30,000 households, from both the city and county programs, will receive assistance. This program was approved in July.

Harris County established the Harris County COVID-19 Relief Fund to provide much-needed relief to Harris County residents most impacted by the global pandemic. The $30 million fund, which is administered by Greater Houston Community Foundation, aims to strategically serve a large number of the most vulnerable people, in particular county residents who may not be eligible for other COVID-related funding and/or who cannot afford to wait for assistance.
The Harris County COVID-19 Relief Fund will distribute funds in two ways to help ensure equitable distribution. The Fund will partner with trusted, high performing community-based organizations that are already actively supporting the community and have deep relationships and understanding of families with emergency needs.
Phase 1 funds were disbursed on June 12, 2020. The Fund invited all eligible low-income Harris County residents to complete an application online or over the phone. Eligible individuals were matched with a community-based organization to understand their needs, verify eligibility, and provide assistance.
The Public Application was open on June 23 and 24, 2020, and is now closed.

Hidalgo County launched a program that will provide mortgage and rent assistance to qualifying residents. The Mortgage and Rent Relief Program will provide assistance for rural county residents affected by COVID-19 for up to two months, according to a news release issued by the county on Monday.

On May 6, the Houston City Council has approved a $15 million rent relief program that will use millions in federal COVID-19 relief money to help Houstonians pay their rent. The program will be funded though federal CARES Act funding for the rent relief program.

The City of Killeen dedicated CARES Act funding to assist residents with utility bills and rent who have experienced job loss, reduction in hours of employment, inability to work because of quarantine or a related situation resulting from the pandemic.

The Salvation is providing rent and utility assistance to those impacted by the COVID-19 crisis. Clients meeting the eligibility criteria for rent assistance will be assisted with an amount up to $750.00. Clients meeting the eligibility requirements for utility assistance will be assisted with an amount up to $250.00. This effort is funded through a $75,000 grants from the Community Foundation of West Texas and the Lubbock Area United Way.

Assistance is available for persons or families who have been financially impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
 Applicants must:
 Live within the City limits of Lubbock
 Meet Income Criteria
 Submit a Complete Application
 Include all Required Back-Up Documentation
 Have a Current Lease Agreement

  • COVID-19 CARES Act Fund Rent and Utility Assistance: Missouri City

Missouri City City Council authorized the city to spend $2.3 million of federal coronavirus relief funding during its Aug. 3 meeting. This money from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act, which passed Congress in March, was allocated to Missouri City from Fort Bend County based on the city’s population. The city is eligible to be reimbursed for certain expenses—incurred through Dec. 30—related to the coronavirus pandemic up to $3.7 million. Included in the community outreach efforts is a $500,000 small-business grant program and a $500,000 rental assistance program. These programs will each provide up to $2,500 in assistance for 200 families or businesses.

On April 21, the Montgomery County Community Development was notified that it would receive $2,416,459 in Round 1 CARES Act funding, Director of Community Development Joanne Ducharme said. The entity expects to assist 935 households to avoid eviction and homelessness with Round 1 funding. The funds are being used towards 2 months of rental assistance and prescription assistance, dispersed by nonprofits in each precinct. Montgomery County announced on June 3 an additional $10 million towards rent and mortgage relief for its residents, estimated to impact 4,000 households.

Due to the economic impact of the Coronavirus (COVID-19), the City of Pearland is inviting qualifying applicants to apply for rental and/or utility assistance through the Coronavirus Rental and Utilities Assistance Program for September and October 2020.

The Volunteers of America Texas Home Tenant Based Rental Assistance (TBRA) Program provides rental assistance and housing help to residents in Plano, TX who are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

A new emergency assistance plan could makes lives easier for people who can’t pay their rent. Tenants who have lost their jobs or been laid off due to COVID-19 are eligible for the innovative program.

The city council sent another $24.1 million on Thursday to a widely used assistance program that has helped thousands of San Antonio residents pay their rent and other bills during the COVID-19 pandemic. The COVID-19 Emergency Housing Assistance Program has already received $52.5 million through two previous phases of funding – $50.9 million of which will end up going to San Antonio residents. The other $1.6 million covers operating costs into December.

The City of San Benito received funds from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act (CARES) that will be allocated for a Hardship Assistance Program. These funds will provide financial assistance to residents who have experienced financial hardship due to temporary or permanent loss of employment income.

The Tarrant County Commissioners Court has allocated funds to assist with rental payments for those directly impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Assistance is available on a first-come, first-served basis subject to periodic review of eligibility.

  • The Colony COVID-19 Relief Fund Program

The Colony City Council on Tuesday approved a budget amendment that is designed to provide assistance to its residents impacted financially by the COVID-19 pandemic. Joe Perez, director of community relations and programming, said $15,000 will go to the Next Steps nonprofit organization to help residents with rent and utility payments.

The Travis County Commissioners Court unanimously approved the allocation of $10 million for direct rent, mortgage and utility assistance. The rental assistance will be available to Travis County residents. This one-time cash assistance was complemented by a $2.4 million budget transfer to the county’s emergency assistance program to make up for the pre-Covid funding shortfall. The budget transfer will be an ongoing source of financial assistance for county residents seeking help with rent or mortgage payments and represents a 355 percent increase in funding. However, the county will need to use the $10 million of rental assistance funds taken from its $61 million Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act allocation by December.

  • City of Victoria’s CDBG-CV Rental and Mortgage Assistance Program

The City of Victoria’s CDBG-CV Rental and Mortgage Assistance Program provides eligible applicants emergency rental or mortgage assistance for those that have been financially impacted by COVID-19. A total of $40,555.00 has been allocated to this program and will be disbursed to eligible applicants on a first-come, first-serve basis.

  • Waco Rental Assistance Program (RAPMFP)

Rental assistance is available to residents of Waco who have been affected by COVID-19.

  • City of Waco Rental & Mortgage Assistance Program

The City of Waco is providing short-term emergency rental assistance to families or individuals who’re struggling financially due to the loss of a job or reduced hours as a result of Covid-19.

  • Wilco Forward Phase 3 Rent and Utility Assistance: Williamson County

Wilco Forward Phase III is funded with $5 million from a combination of Community Development Block Grant funds and federal CARES Act funds. Phase III provides rent and utility assistance to residents that are in need through partnerships with local non-profits. Terms of agreement were approved between Williamson County and The Caring Place, The Salvation Army, and the Round Rock Serving Center.


These resources are for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice. Landlords and Tenants are encouraged to seek specific legal advice for any of the issues as found in this blog.


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