TRAVIS COUNTY, Texas (KXAN) — Travis County commissioners approved $80,000 in federal funding Tuesday to assist 23 families at “imminent risk of eviction” after a City of Austin program ran out of money.
County documents said the funds will support services provided by the Texas Rio Grande Legal Aid and Austin Tenants Council. The county stepped in due to a “gap in funding and programming” that left the 23 families without support, per documents.
In a statement to KXAN Wednesday, a city spokesperson said Austin’s Relief of Emergency Needs for Tenants (RENT) program was nearly entirely funded by federal COVID-19 dollars. The spokesperson added RENT program city funds have all been distributed.
“The county is stepping in because the city has run out of money for rental assistance, so we are helping those 23 families to avoid imminent eviction,” Travis County Commissioner Brigid Shea said during the county’s meting.
The county is working on implementing a longer-term program to help meet rental assistance need, writing in backup documents “an immediate crisis situation has arisen.”
All of the families receiving county funds are already enrolled in services with the Texas Rio Grande Legal Aid “but are now left in limbo as funding has been exhausted.” The money approved comes from the American Rescue Plan Act.
In the meantime, the city spokesperson added Austin City Council will consider an item Jan. 26 to add an additional $600,000 in local funds to provide “tenant stabilization services to households vulnerable to displacement.”