Texas Rent Relief portal to close Thursday after receiving more than 70,000 applications
LUBBOCK, Texas (KCBD) - Renters flooded the Texas Rent Relief (TRR) application portal after it reopened for first time since 2021. Because more than 70,000 households submitted applications within the first 24 hours of reopening, it will now close Thursday, March 16 at 11:59 a.m.
The Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs expected to accept applications over the next two weeks to allocate its remaining $96 million to help eligible households with rent and utility payments.
Thousands of households applied for rental assistance after the pandemic and the need is still there. When the application portal opened Tuesday morning, an influx of applicants caused delays and some couldn’t even get into the portal. Others did though, and more than 4,000 people applied in the first 45 minutes — that rose to 10,000 within four hours.
“Really surprised me that they opened the program back up,” Justice of the Peace Susan Rowley said.
The application portal closed in November 2021, after the state received more requests than it could fund. After processing those applications, the program found a remaining $96 million. The portal is open once again, and Rowley says renters should apply sooner rather than later.
“My recommendation, get your application in as soon as possible, because there’s going to be thousands of people applying. And they’re going to go through, in order of how they applied,” Rowley said.
Rowley has helped move that process along, as her court handles evictions.
First-time applicants may be eligible for up to 18 months of assistance for rent and utility bills, including up to three months of future payments. Returning applicants who haven’t received the maximum 18 months of assistance can submit an additional funding request via their existing online user account. Rowley says they will need to use the same application number.
“Let’s say they received six months of assistance in the past, so they might be eligible for another 12. But, new people are going to be the ones that they’re really looking at that haven’t asked for assistance before,” Rowley said.
Tenants facing eviction and utility disconnection will be given priority.
“Talk with your landlord too, because if they participate and get their part of the application it can be faster as well,” Rowley said.
Rowley encourages people who have a true need to apply and apply quickly.
“We had a lot of people, some right in front of me in my court, lie under oath,” Rowley said. “And we found them out, and there are many of them that have or are going to have federal charges against them for theft.”
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