Rent relief programs may end soon

Published: Mar. 20, 2023 at 6:40 PM CDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

WICHITA FALLS, Texas (KAUZ) - Programs like Texas Rent Relief were available to renters to prevent them from getting evicted, but that may change.

From 2020 to 2022, the US Department of Housing and Urban Development reports a three percent increase in the number of people experiencing homelessness.

During the 88th legislative session, Texas lawmakers will be discussing the housing issue and could end programs that protected Texans during the pandemic era.

With homelessness on a rise due to COVID and inflation, shelters could be impacted.

“But to have a lot of people out of their homes at the same time would be maybe not a crisis but it would be something that would raise a lot of attention and we hopefully try to figure out a way to help some of those people void eviction,” President and CEO of Faith Mission, Steve Sparks said.

The Texas Rent Relief program funded by the state closed its application last Thursday, March 16.

A press release from the program stated they received more than 70,000 applicants during the first 24 hours after they reopened, the highest number of applicants was seen in a single day when the portal opened in 2021.

Donna Piper, the executive director for the Wichita Falls Housing Authority said everyone in Texas can be affected by this.

“Supports networks is threatening to be taken away. Then now they have to worry they’re gonna get their housing or how they’re gonna keep their housing. And not only is it gonna affect Texas families, it’s also gonna affect all the other agencies that provide supportive services to Texas families,” Piper said.

Texas Rent Relief has helped over 300,000 Texans, and Piper said her office sees that people in Wichita Falls are in need.

“We’re getting people to apply for public housing that has never applied for public housing before. So this is not just affecting low-income people, this is affecting a lot of people. We got hit with the pandemic, it put everybody in a bad spot. We’re just now starting to get back on our feet but a lot of people ended up having to start over,” Piper said.

Texas Rent Relief is asking anyone who is facing eviction to seek legal assistance. The Wichita Falls Housing Authority said people can visit their website for help.