The City of Austin’s Neighborhood Housing and Community Development Department (NHCD) and the Housing Authority of the City of Austin (HACA) are launching the Relief of Emergency Needs for Tenants (RENT) Assistance Program, a $17.75 million program providing $12.9 million in direct rent support for income-eligible Austin renters who are financially impacted by COVID-19. The RENT program will also offer related support for tenant stabilization, eviction prevention and direct community outreach. The RENT Application Portal will open Wednesday August 19, 2020 at 8:00a.m. (CST) and remain open through January 2021, or until funds are expended. Eligible renters may submit their application for random selection. If selected and the application qualifies, a payment will be issued directly to the landlord in the full amount of the contracted rent. All applications, regardless of when they are submitted after the initial opening of the application period, will be given an equal chance for random selection. One month of paid rent may be available to households whose income is between 30 percent and 80 percent of the Median Family Income. Up to three months of paid rent may be available to households whose income is between 0 percent and 30 percent of the Median Family Income. “The City and Housing Authority are thrilled to be able to offer this critical support to help Austin renters stay in their homes during this difficult time,” said Michael Gerber, CEO of the Housing Authority of the City of Austin. “Mayor and City Council provided much needed funds for this emergency rental assistance program as a critical step in assisting with the financial impacts of COVID-19 in our community.” NHCD Director Rosie Truelove “We are thrilled to partner with HACA to move funds quickly to help as many Austin renters as possible, recognizing that while the $12.9 million provided by the RENT program is not enough to meet the overwhelming need, it is a proud step we can take to help Austin renters in need.” The Austin Apartment Association Executive Vice President Emily Blair shared support of the RENT program stating “Austin Apartment Association members work closely with our renters in the community to help connect them with resources and meet immediate needs. Working together, the RENT program will provide much-needed assistance to Austin renters impacted financially by COVID-19 and help keep Austin’s supply of rental housing intact.” RENT Eligibility Requirements: • Applicants must live within Austin’s full purpose city limits; • Applicant household gross annual income must be 80 percent or less of the Median Family Income (See income chart below); • Applicants must be currently on a lease or in a contractually bound rental relationship; • Applicants must not be already receiving federal rental assistance; • Applicants must not be a full-time student whose rent is paid by someone else; and, • Applicants must provide documentation showing that COVID-19 has affected them financially (e.g., pay stubs, unemployment notice, etc.). What Applicants Will Need When Applying • A valid email address and a phone number (Applicants can create one for free at gmail.com) • Information about each person in your household: Full name, date of birth, gender, race, ethnicity, relationship to the head of household, social security number, alien registration number, or ITIN number (if you have one. Please note that applicants who do not have an identification number may still apply), • Proof of your household’s gross annual income as of December 31, 2019; • Proof of your household’s current gross annual income; • Proof of COVID-related income loss affecting the household; • Photo ID of the head of household, as well as current address and mailing address; • A copy of your current lease, rental agreement, or invoice (for extended stay hotels) • Landlord’s name, email address, and phone number; and, • Paper and pen to write down your RENT application confirmation number NHCD also announced $400,000 in RENT Community Outreach Grants to organizations who offer support services for tenant stabilization, eviction prevention and direct marketing and outreach to focused populations. These grant requests between $1,000 and $50,000 will provide funds to community-based organizations, non-profits and small businesses to expand RENT program reach to those affected by COVID-19, including low-income residents, African American and Latinx(a/o) communities, families with children, persons with disabilities, veterans, and those with limited English proficiency. Organizations interested in this grant opportunity can visit the RENT Community Outreach Grant Dashboard - grant applications are now open through Tuesday, August 25 at 4:00 PM CST. For Austin renters impacted financially by COVID-19, the RENT Application Portal opens Wednesday August 19, 2020 at 8:00 a.m. (CST). Applicants with questions or in need further information can visit www.austintexas.gov/RENT, email AustinRENT@cvrassociates.com or call the RENT Call Center at 512-488-1397 between 8 a.m. and 6 p.m CST Monday through Friday
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HACA's COVID-19 Tenant and Landlord Response Page