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Hays County to start Emergency Relief program

Monday, July 12, 2021

On Monday, Hays County implemented the Emergency Rental Assistance Program (ERA). The ERA program has been put in place to assist those that need help with their rent and utility bills after the impact of COVID-19. 

Eligible households may receive up to 12 months of rent and or utility assistance (accrued after March 13, 2020). After an initial one to three months of provided support, households may reapply for additional assistance  — in three-month increments, not to exceed a total of 12 months, according to the county’s ERA website. 

Residents looking to register for the program must go through an application process in order to qualify. While the pre-qualification questionnaire was posted on Monday, the official applications for rental assistance will be posted on the program’s website on July 21.

“This is a community program. The only way it can be the most successful, is if the community helps each other,” said Wesley Matthews, ERA program administrator. “This new Emergency Rental Assistance program may help keep people from being evicted or having critical services turned off if they are facing challenges with respect to paying their rent or utilities.”

Official eligible expenses covered by the program include past due rent, current and future rent, and reasonable accrued late fees.

While this grant-funded program is open to Hays County residents, those looking to apply must also fit the criteria set into place. 

Along with other stipulations, “One or more individuals within the household must demonstrate they: Are at risk of experiencing homelessness or housing instability, which may include a past due utility or rent notice or eviction notice, or live in unsafe or unhealthy housing conditions,” the ERA’s website states.

Households that are below the 50% median income and households with one or more people that have been unemployed for at least 90 days or more are the first to be prioritized for the program within the first 21 days. A list of others that will be prioritized can be found on the program website.

Documentation needed to submit an application includes, but is not limited to: the amount due in rent, utility if not included in rent, reasonable accrued late fees, W9 (provided by landlord), PDF bank deposit statements for months’ rent not paid, previous W2 and other applicant expenses. 

If a tenant is approved for ERA, the payments from the program grant are set to go directly to the landlord. Landlords are being encouraged to advertise and inform tenants about the program. 

For a full list of program details, the application process, visitwww.hayscountytx.com/veteren-services/emergency-rental-assistance/ or email erap@co.hays.tx.us. Residents can also call 512-878-6685 for questions and additional information. 

This article has been updated since its original publication.

San Marcos Record

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