AUSTIN, Texas (KAMR/KCIT) – The Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs opened applications for its Texas Utility Help program on Friday, aimed at offering qualified homeowners and renters help with total past due utility payments for electricity, natural gas, and propane and up to $2,400 in prospective payments.

According to the announcement, applicants may qualify if they have:

  • A household income at or below 150% of Federal Poverty Income Guidelines;
  • At least one occupant in the household is a United States citizen or Qualified Alien.

Alongside energy bills, officials noted that applicants can request water and wastewater bill assistance within the same application. Those who qualify may get help up to $600 toward paying total past due and current water and wastewater bills. For water and wastewater assistance, those who have been disconnected or are at risk of disconnection are given priority.

All approved payments through the program, said officials, are paid directly to the utility company on the applicant’s behalf. Funding for the assistance comes through the federal Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program and the federal Low Income Household Water Assistance Program.

When the Texas Utility Help program first launched in July, TDHCA noted that high demand led to the program closing applications within one week. From its start, TDHCA reported that the program has distributed more than $15 million in assistance funding.

“Extreme heat during the summer months hit people especially hard this year, which was evidenced by the overwhelming initial interest in this program. We are glad we can open up energy assistance again and help even more people,” said Bobby Wilkinson, TDHCA Executive Director. “While funds are limited, TDHCA is committed to helping as many households as possible gain a sense of stability and security for these basic needs.”

Those seeking more information, or those with questions, may call 855-566-2057 for the call center open on weekdays from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Applications can be found on the Texas Utility Help website.