The city of Fort Worth is preparing to distribute about $15.4 million in federal funding to a few thousand families struggling because of the coronavirus pandemic.
The money will help pay rent and utilities.
The system to apply online is being tested and expected to be ready by Thursday.
Rev. Kyev Tatum said he worried about the city’s lower income residents keeping up with rent and bills during the pandemic.
“The poverty was just very difficult to manage in southeast Fort Worth before this,” he said. “Now, you put a pandemic on top of an epidemic and you’ve just created a mental health tsunami.”
The city said rent and utility relief is coming.
The city is testing out its online application process that is similar to what Dallas just offered its residents, which experienced problems because so many people tried to apply at the same time.
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Fort Worth received $8.2 million dollars in Housing and Urban Development and Health and Human Services funding, more than is typically allocated for the city’s housing programs, documents show.
Neighborhood services also proposed allocating an additional $7.2 million in federal coronavirus relief fund resources to help residents affected financially by COVID-19, with housing, utility, food, medicine and other household expenses.
The $7.2 million would be available to residents earning up to 120% of the area median income, residents who might otherwise not be eligible for HUD or HHS programs.
For example, a family of four earning up to $97,800 a year could qualify.
Income in the past 30 days would be calculated in the approval process.
“We’re anxious and we know residents are anxious and we want to get assistance to them as soon as we can,” said Victor Turner who leads Fort Worth’s neighborhood services department.
Turner estimated 4,200 households would receive financial help.
Approved families could get $1,200 a month for up to three months, he said.
The financial assistance would not be sent to families in the form of a check, but rather paid directly to landlords, mortgage companies and utility providers.
The city said it would take about a week to verify applications once the website is up and running.
Families should receive help by the time June rent is due, according to Turner.
For the city's COVID-19 response resources, click here.
Tracking COVID-19 Cases in North Texas Counties
NBC 5 is tracking the number of COVID-19 related cases, recoveries and deaths in North Texas counties. Choose a county and click on a city or town to see how the coronavirus pandemic is affecting your area.
Cases are cumulative by day and are subject to change, dependent on each county health department's reporting schedule and methodology. Data may be reported county-wide, by city or town, or not at all. Cases, recoveries and death counts in 'unspecified' categories are used as placeholders and reassigned by their respective counties at a later date.
Data: County Health Departments, NBC 5 Staff