Houston-area renters, landlords and small business owners can sign up for COVID-19 relief through two assistance funds that are set to open applications this August.

Harris County is providing $25 million and the city of Houston is providing $20 million for a joint emergency rental assistance program administered by the nonprofit BakerRipley to help residents and landlords affected by the pandemic, according to a release from the office of Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo.

Those approved through the county program may receive up to $1,200 and those approved through the city program may receive up to $2,112. Only one application is required. Applications for landlords opened on Monday and run through Wednesday, August 26. Applications for tenants will open Aug. 24 and run through Aug. 30.

情景喜剧推荐EVICTION CRISIS:情景喜剧推荐 New data shows nearly $29M in lost rent, grim housing outlook for Houston

The program is aimed to help those with rent, late fees or payments occurring after April 1, 2020. Data shows 7,205 eviction cases claiming more than $13 million have been filed by Harris County residents from April 1 through August 17, according to the data science consulting firm January Advisors.

“Our community continues to suffer great economic damage resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic, with many people unable to cover basic necessities, including rent,” Hidalgo said in the release. “This program will bring relief to those across our region who so desperately need it, allowing families to stay in their homes while addressing the collateral impact on property owners.”

情景喜剧推荐The following is required to be eligible, per the release: 情景喜剧推荐

  • Landlords must be registered as a program participant
  • Applicant must reside within Harris County and/or the city of Houston
  • Total household income must be at or below the 50 percent average median income (depends on household size) 
  • Cannot have received other Harris County-related COVID-19 assistance through a city rent relief program
  • Cannot be currently receiving other governmental housing subsidies

情景喜剧推荐

Small business owners can also apply for COVID-19 relief for up to $50,000 through the city of Houston's $15 million Small Business Economic Relief Program (SBERP), which opens at 8 a.m. on Wednesday.

The funds are available for businesses to use for payroll, accounts payable, rent, mortgage, personal protective equipment (PPE) for employees, and marketing strategies, according to a news release from the city. The application deadline is 11:59 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 4. Applications can be submitted online here.

“SBERP funds will not be distributed on a first-come, first-served basis. Small businesses that are in most financial need and exhibit a moderate to high likelihood of surviving the pandemic's adverse impacts will receive the most consideration for grant funds,” Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner said in the release. “I highly encourage you to take your time to complete your application fully and carefully before the Sept. 4 deadline.”

Approved businesses will receive funds in two phases, the second of which comes after completing a Recovery and Resiliency assistance program.

情景喜剧推荐The following is required to be eligible, per the release: 情景喜剧推荐

  • Must be a business whose principal place of business is located within city limits 
  • Must have been in business for at least one year as of March 1, 2020
  • Must provide evidence of how business revenue has significantly decreased due to COVID-19
  • A business qualifies if it generated $2 million or less in gross annual revenue pre-COVID-19
  • Must be in good standing regarding city requirements 
  • Must commit to completing the Recovery and Resiliency component

The program is funded with the city's CARES Act 2020 funds. For more information, visit the city website here. 

rebecca.hennes@chron.com