Travis County closes rental assistance portal, waiting on possible additional funds

Travis County
Pride flag-raising ceremony at Travis County building

FILE — The Travis County Government building June 29, 2021. (Frank Martinez/KXAN)

TRAVIS COUNTY, Texas (KXAN) — The application portal for Travis County’s Emergency Rental Assistance Program (ERAP) is officially closed as of midnight Sunday.

For people who live in Austin, Travis County was the last available government agency to close their ERAP portal, cutting off new applications for rental help. Both the City of Austin and State of Texas were forced to close their portals in early November because the number of applicants outpaced the funding passed down by the U.S. Treasury.

Travis County reported the demand for assistance has now also exceeded current funding and overwhelmed staff capacity.

Travis County’s ERAP portal now reads:

Travis County’s Emergency Rental Assistance Program (ERAP) is not accepting new applications at this time. Please monitor this website for updates should additional funding become available.

In the meantime, you may want to contact Texas 2-1-1. It is a free social service hotline available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. Texas 2-1-1 is a program of the Texas Health and Human Services Commission Call 2-1-1, or (877) 541-7905, or go to www.211texas.org.

That portal could reopen should Travis County be granted additional funding, which they’ve applied for.

The U.S. Treasury laid out expectations for governments that received money through ERAP earlier this year. Texas cities and counties that were not able to distribute at least 30% of their funding by the end of September might have to give some back.

That money will be reallocated to governments who got at least 65% of their funding out the door by the end of September. Travis County is one of the governments that could request additional money based on those requirements, which it did a couple weeks ago at $7.6 million.

“We have no information on what that’s going to look like,” Lawrence Lyman, the director for Travis County health and human services, said Tuesday during commissioners court. “We’re all just playing a waiting game on that.”

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