AUSTIN (Nexstar) — After unprecedented demand exhausted $96 million set aside to help Texas renters, The Texas Rent Relief Program says it is able to assist 10,400 people in need.
The program received more than 100,000 applications in the first 28 hours after the portal opened. The demand forced the program to close applications just 52 hours after opening, 12 days days earlier than planned.
“With an extraordinary number of applications submitted and very limited funding available, TRR is not able to assist everyone,” Kristina Tirloni with the Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs said.
The program is prioritizing Texans actively facing eviction and who can provide a docket number for an eviction hearing. TRR is still reviewing more than 6,000 such applications.
TRR reports they have about $70 million in funding remaining and the average assistance amount is $6,732.
Amid a base backlog, some Texans have expressed their frustrations with the program.
“I can’t get through to Texas Rent Relief via phone, no matter what I do. I’m about to have a case number for eviction and can’t reach them to provide it so I can expedite my application,” one applicant said in an email to KXAN. “This is pathetic! I’m physically disabled and need help.”
TRR said it should be able to make payments within 14 business days, but only if all required documentation and eligibility requirements are fulfilled.
“Every application is unique, and there are many factors that affect the review timeline, including the landlord’s willingness to participate, completion of the landlord’s application profile, and timeliness in which the landlord and tenant submit all required documentation,” Tirloni said. “Most applications we receive require follow-up communication because the applicant did not include all of the necessary documentation. We strongly urge applicants to check for and respond to text messages, emails and phone calls from TRR staff so we can more quickly process their application.”
For those who cannot find help through Texas Rent Relief, the program directs them to alternative resources.
If you are facing eviction, you can seek free or low-cost legal assistance at Texas Law Help.
For utility assistance, the Texas Department of Housing and Community Assistance has a separate program to supplement utility, water, and wastewater bills. Visit Texas Utility Help to learn more.
TDHCA also hosts the Help for Texans webpage to share local resources related to affordable housing, long-term rent help and legal aid.