Neighborhood Housing Department Issues $1.2M in Rental Assistance to Be Administered by Austin Housing Authority
Fri, 05/01/2020 – 09:56
Applicants must apply 9:00 a.m. May 4th through 11:59 p.m. May 6th
The City of Austin Neighborhood Housing and Community Development Department (NHCD) is providing $1.2 million in emergency rental assistance to Austinites affected by the COVID-19 outbreak to be administered through a contract with the Housing Authority of the City of Austin (HACA).
The Relief of Emergency Needs for Tenants (RENT) program will distribute one-time rental subsidies through a lottery system similar to HACA’s Housing Choice Voucher program. Residents must apply for the lottery through HACA’s RENT website at www.atxrenthelp.org starting May 4th at 9:00 a.m. and ending at 11:59 p.m. on May 6th. More information is available www.atxrenthelpinfo.org.
“Funding for this emergency rental assistance is being accessed from the City’s local funds. In this time of pandemic and economic uncertainty, Austin families need the security of safe and stable housing,” said Rosie Truelove, Director of NHCD.
“While we recognize that $1.2 million can only go so far, we are committed to our ongoing efforts to identify and access additional help for these families as soon as we possibly can. Providing this rental assistance is something we can do right now,” Truelove said.
HACA will manage the intake and processing of applications, determine applicant eligibility, and—upon approval—direct payments to landlords to help cover tenants’ rent obligations.
“The RENT Program is expected to help more than 1,000 families in our community stay in their homes during this difficult time,” said Michael Gerber, CEO of the Housing Authority of the City of Austin. “We applaud the Mayor and City Council providing critical funds for this emergency rental assistance program. While the needs in our community will likely far exceed the rent help available, HACA is committed to moving funds quickly to help as many Austin families as possible.”
Applicants not selected in the lottery will receive written notification from HACA, with a list of additional potential alternative resources. Should additional funding become available, all eligible Austin renters would be able to apply for subsequent lotteries or programs to ensure the broadest distribution of rental assistance possible.
Eligibility for Rental Assistance
Eligibility is limited to City of Austin households that are at or below 80 percent of the Median Family Income (see table below) who can document both a financial impact by COVID-19 and need of rent relief (e.g., paystubs, unemployment notice, notice of rent due, etc.). Applicants must also demonstrate that they are party to an existing lease agreement and are not recipients of other rental assistance programs.
Amount of Assistance Available
The amount of rental assistance will be determined either by the number of bedrooms in the apartment OR the actual monthly rent amount (per the current lease), whichever is LOWEST minus the 30 percent of the household’s gross monthly income (see table below).
City of Austin Mayor Steve Adler praised the collaborative nature of the program.
“With so many out of work, the cries for rent relief are loud and they are being heard. Thank you to the Housing Authority and the Austin Apartment Association for helping to rapidly deploy the RENT relief program for those in greatest need. This is our community coming together to get crucial work done,” said Adler.
Adler’s remarks were echoed by Austin Council Member for District 4 and Chair of the City of Austin Housing and Planning Committee Greg Casar.
“Addressing the crisis is a community issue. No one should lose their home because of the COVID crisis,” said Casar. “The City is here to help with the RENT program to provide Austinites the support they need paying May rent. For us to protect everyone’s housing stability, we also need landlords in the community to look for ways to offer additional relief through decreased rents and relaxed rules.”
Similar agreement was expressed by Austin Apartment Association Executive Vice President Emily Blair.
“Austin Apartment Association member staffs are working closely with families in their communities to help connect people with resources and meet immediate needs, so we know many people who need these funds,” said Austin Apartment Association Executive Vice President Emily Blair.
“Our property managers will be eager to share this rental assistance source with their residents in need. On behalf of the hundreds of thousands of residents in our communities, we thank the City of Austin for helping Austin renters remain safe in their homes and helping keep the City’s housing supply stable,” Blair said.
For more information about the RENT program, call or text the HACA RENT Call Center phone number at (512) 400-4275. Visit www.atxrenthelpinfo.org or www.austintexas.gov/RENT for more information.