City expects bump in housing assistance requests as state halts new rent relief applications

State halted new Texas Rent Relief applications at 5 p.m. Friday, says there are more requests than money available

City expects bump in housing assistance requests as state halts new rent relief applications

San Antonio – As the state puts an abrupt halt to its rent relief program, San Antonio residents still have somewhere to turn.

The Texas Rent Relief program stopped taking new applications at 5 p.m., Friday, citing more requests than money available. However, the City of San Antonio says its Emergency Housing Assistance Program (EHAP), which pays rent or mortgage, and utility bills for San Antonio residents affected by the pandemic, still has enough money to last through the end of the year.

The city administers rental assistance to county residents through EHAP, too.

Neighborhood and Housing Services Department Director Veronica Soto says the city only learned Thursday about the state’s plan to stop accepting applications.

While there was a decline during the summer, Soto says EHAP application numbers have been steady recently. However, she expects the city will see a spike this weekend as a result of the TRR program no longer being an option.

“So we still would have enough money because what we’re processing now is what has come in already. So we would still have enough money to take us through the end of the year,” Soto said.

Soto says the city has asked for additional money from the federal government to help keep the program going longer, but the city won’t get a response about that until the end of the month. The Texas Tribune reports the state has taken a similar step, which would allow it to reopen applications.

However, there’s a six or nine-month cap to the amount of assistance a person can receive through EHAP, depending on their income level.

The city had previously been referring the people who reached that limit to the TRR program, but that’s no longer an option.

Soto said the city would see what other benefit navigation services the city could offer those individuals, though she acknowledged “unfortunately, there’s not too many alternatives.”

The city is not currently considering extending the limit on EHAP benefits, she said.

GETTING HELP

City and county residents can apply for help online, or in-person at the Central Library. More details, including eligibility criteria, are available on the city’s website or by calling 311.

You must be able to show how the pandemic has affected you to get assistance.

The city will also be accepting applications at several events in the next week:

  • Tuesday, Nov. 9, 4:30 pm - 7:30 pm: CPS District 8 Utility Assistance Fair - Crown Ridge Banquet Hall, 6909 Camp Bullis Road, 78256.
  • Saturday, Nov. 13, 10:00 am - 2:00 pm: Texas State Rep. Elizabeth “Liz” Campos Community Resource Rair - Harvey E. Najim YMCA, 3122 Roosevelt Avenue, 78214.
  • Saturday, Nov. 13, 10:00 am - 12:00 pm: District 6 Community Resource Fair - 1014 Enrique Barrera Parkway, 78237.

About the Authors:

Garrett Brnger is a reporter with KSAT 12.

Sal Salazar is a photojournalist at KSAT 12. Before coming to KSAT in 1998, he worked at the Fox affiliate in San Antonio. Sal started off his career back in 1995 for the ABC Affiliate in Lubbock and has covered many high-profile news events since. In his free time, he enjoys spending time at home, gaming and loves traveling with his wife.