Housing and Community Development Department

Press Release

Nearly 12,000 Applications Accepted for Rental Assistance Program

HOUSTON – On May 13, The City of Houston and BakerRipley opened the Houston Rental Assistance Program to tenants. The program pledged $15M in CARES Act funds to make up missed rent payments for low- to moderate income renters. Mayor Turner applauded the City’s effort but recognized the overwhelming remaining need saying, “COVID-19 has impacted many Houstonians who have faced undue financial hardship because of a loss of wages or income. I am proud that The City of Houston stepped up by providing resources for immediate financial relief to renters, but there is still more work to do.”

Renters affected by the coronavirus could apply on a first-come, first-serve basis. Nearly 12,000 applications were received, with an average of about $1200 requested per applicant. Within two hours of applications opening, all $15M had been pledged, showing how urgently Houstonians need support with housing costs.

From the moment the proposal was passed, it was understood that the program would not be able to serve everyone in need. At the opening of the application website, an estimated 30,000 people were online. With funds depleted within two hours, many of these residents and others had to be turned away from the program. The applications that were received will be screened over the next two weeks, and BakerRipley will issue letters of commitment to both landlords and tenants. The program expects to make all payments to landlords before June 1st.

These results show how urgently residents in Houston need help paying housing costs. Mayor Sylvester Turner and the City of Houston Housing and Community Development Department (HCD) urge Congress to approve the HEROES Act, which will provide $100B in rental assistance and $75B in mortgage assistance. Read the Mayor's letter to Congressional leaders here.

To join HCD in advocating for more resources for our community, reach out to Congressional Representatives and share the Mayor’s letter on social platforms, asking the House of Representatives to pass the HEROES Act on Friday, May 15.