Gov. Abbott, TDHCA Announce Statewide COVID-19 Rental Relief Program

Program provides over $1 billion in rent, utility assistance for qualifying households

NBC 5 News

Governor Greg Abbott has announced that the Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs has launched the Texas Rent Relief Program, the first statewide rent and utility assistance program for qualifying households throughout Texas.

According to Abbott's office, the program was created to administer the more than $1 billion allocated to Texas through the latest federal COVID-19 stimulus bill.

The Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs will begin accepting applications for the program on Feb. 15, Abbott's office said.

Texans can visit starting Tuesday to learn more about qualifications, required documents, and the application process.

"The COVID-19 pandemic has placed a significant financial strain on many Texans, and the Texas Rent Relief Program will provide an incredible lifeline to households in need of assistance on their rent and utility payments," Governor Abbott said. "I urge qualifying households to apply for this program once applications open on February 15th. The State of Texas will continue to provide the resources and support for those in need throughout the pandemic."

To qualify, households must be at or below 80% of the area median income as well as meet other criteria, Abbott's office said.

Per federal guidelines, the Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs will prioritize applications for households at or below 50% of the area median income level and households where one or more members are currently unemployed and have been for at least 90 days.

According to Abbott's office, landlords are encouraged to apply on behalf of tenants, who must co-sign the application.

"The pandemic has dealt a heavy blow to many Texas families," Lt. Governor Dan Patrick said. "The Texas Rent Relief program is for those Texans who need help to pay rent and utility bills and I encourage those who need it to apply.  These resources will provide support for Texas families who need it while our economy continues to recover."

Beginning Feb. 15, applicants can submit their application by calling 1-833-989-7368. They can also submit it online at

The call center will be open Monday through Saturday, 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.

"Texans have been resilient in responding to COVID-19, and this program can provide short-term assistance to families in need as they emerge from the financial aftershocks of the pandemic," Speaker Dade Phelan said. "This program is a key component of our state's pandemic recovery effort and will be essential to the rebound of our economy, workforce, and education system. I am thrilled that qualifying Texas families have an avenue for temporary relief on essential items like rent and utility payments when it truly counts the most."

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