Texas Rent Assistance Program Closes Due to Insufficient Funding

Eviction Notice on Door Close Up
Eviction notice posted on door. | Image by Michael Burrell

At 5 pm on November 5, the Texas Rent Relief Program officially shut down its webpage, which processes applications for the program.

The event was inevitable, as $1.2 billion of the $1.9 billion budget had already been distributed. The program said that no more applications could be accepted due to the backlog and long processing time.

The $1.9 billion was provided via federal government support, which leaves local governments as the only buffer for those who haven’t paid their rent. As Houston Public Media pointed out, the local government can only do so much before facing a budget crisis.

Organizations such as the Dallas Housing Authority were forced to turn people away when their funds dried up as well.       

Houston has seen around 50,000 evictions since 2020, according to the Princeton Eviction Lab. In Dallas, evictions per month remained at around 3,500 before Covid-19. According to the Child Poverty Action Lab, evictions bounced up and down near the average even during a pandemic.

The Texas Rent Relief Program successfully provided aid to over 223,000 households and still has $680 million remaining. Due to the average of 69 days for a request to be accepted, the program said that they could no longer take any new applications, the TDHCA says.       

Stuart Campbell is a lawyer for the Dallas Eviction Advocacy Center. He stated that he wishes Texas Rent Relief Program would have notified potential applicants sooner.

“If you live in the City of Dallas right now, your only option is to apply to DHA and hope they get more money, or go to one of the non-governmental organizations that may have some money, like the United Way or Catholic Charities,” Campbell told reporters.  

Biden’s contested $1.75 trillion “economic recovery plan” would provide around $150 billion for “affordable housing” and $25 billion of that towards rental assistance.

Citizens struggling with bills or rent can visit tdhca.state.tx.us to match with charities and local providers.    

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