Hays County helps people pay rent, utilities because of pandemic

Hays

SAN MARCOS, Texas (KXAN) — Hays County will open enrollment for its COVID-19 rental assistance program July 12.

The Emergency Rental Assistance Program through the county could potentially cover rental, utility or other late fees if applicants show they’ve had difficulty paying due to the COVID-19 pandemic. County officials say the money for the program comes from a federal grant.

“We know people in our community are still dealing with the financial impact of the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Wesley Matthews, the ERA program administrator. “This new Emergency Rental Assistance program may help keep people from being evicted or having critical services turned off if they are facing challenges with respect to paying their rent or utilities.”

On July 12, both landlords and tenants can register for the program. If eviction proceedings are already happening, the registration serves as a receipt to a county court that a tenant is trying to seek help.

Eligible households can receive up to 12 months of assistance through the program but must reapply for additional help every three months during that period.

To be eligible for the program, rental households must be within Hays County and make no more than 80% of the area’s median income and one or more members of the household have either:

  • Qualified for unemployment benefits, OR due to or during the pandemic:
    • Experienced a reduction in income,
    • Incurred significant costs, or
    • Experienced other financial hardship.
  • AND one or more individuals within the household must demonstrate they:
    • Are at risk of experiencing homelessness or housing instability, which may include a past due utility or rent notice or eviction notice, OR
    • Live in unsafe or unhealthy housing conditions.

Those making 50% or less of the median family income will be prioritized in the first 21 days of the program. Here’s a chart of what that looks like at various household sizes.

Persons in family1234567
50% of median income$34,650$39,600$44,550$49,450$53,450$57,400$61,350

The median family income is defined by the U.S. Dept. of Housing and Urban Development as $98,900 for a household of four in the Austin-Round Rock metropolitan statistical area, which includes Hays County.

Those facing immediate eviction who meet all the income eligibility requirements will be prioritized after the first phase of the program is complete.

Documents needed for the applications include, but aren’t limited to:

  • the amount due in rent,
  • utility if not included in rent,
  • reasonable accrued late fees,
  • W9 (provided by landlord),
  • PDF bank deposit statements for months’ rent not paid,
  • previous W2, and
  • other applicant expenses.

County officials say preventing eviction is a county-wide “community support effort.” Those with questions can email erap@co.hays.tx.us for more help.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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