Houston approves rent relief program during pandemic

HOUSTON (AP) — Houston’s city council on Wednesday approved a $15 million program to will help residents who have been economically troubled by the coroavirus and are struggling to pay their rent.

The program will provide qualified low-to-moderate income Houston residents up to $1,056 in rental assistance for each of the months of April and May.
The program, to be paid for by federal funding from the CARES Act, is expected to help at least 7,000 households.

“This will only cover a subset of the need out there,” Mayor Sylvester Turner said. “The need is huge.”

Landlords who participate in the program will have to agree to waive all late fees and penalties, halt any prior eviction proceedings, and allow payment plans for amounts not covered by the funding.

Houston joins other cities in Texas, including Austin, Dallas and San Antonio, with similar rent assistance programs.

Texas has more than 34,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19, the illness caused by the new coronavirus, and more than 940 deaths linked to the virus.

For most people, the coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough that clear up in two to three weeks. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia.

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