City Unveils Expanded Tenant Aid Program

As+COVID-19+causes+widespread+unemployment%2C+many+people+have+faced+trouble+paying+for+groceries%2C+rent%2C+and+other+necessities.+To+help+combat+this+issue+and+keep+tenants+in+their+homes%2C+Austin+has+created+several+renter+assistance+programs.

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As COVID-19 causes widespread unemployment, many people have faced trouble paying for groceries, rent, and other necessities. To help combat this issue and keep tenants in their homes, Austin has created several renter assistance programs.

By Amy Simon, Reporter

After distributing $1.25 million in May to 1,681 households, the City of Austin announced a second round of emergency rental assistance, called RENT 2.0, to help keep people in their homes. The amount of money has increased to $17.75 million. This program is open to non-traditional renters, including those who are staying in hotels. More than $12.6 million for the tenant assistance will come from federal coronavirus relief funds. Another $2.6 million will come from federal block grants and $2.5 million will come from Austin’s general funding.

“As demonstrated by the past few months, the need for rental assistance has been immense; far outweighing the amount of resources that are available,” Mandy DeMayo with the city’s Neighborhood Housing and Community Development Department said. “Nevertheless, in these circumstances we are going to do whatever we can, with all the resources at our disposal, to support the residents of Austin.” 

The program will be offered to tenants that make at least 30 percent less than the city’s median family income, in a lottery-type style. It will cover one to three month’s rent depending on the family income. The city is expecting to pay full rent for 2,000 tenants for the second wave of assistance.

The program will last for six months and applications open in August. The city hasn’t decided when people will start receiving assistance.  Austin tenants who are struggling to pay rent have still been receiving protections, including an eviction hold lasting till Aug. 24. After that date, all overdue rent fees will have to be paid.