Coronavirus Help: More COVID-19 Relief Available for Select Houston-Area Small Businesses and Tenants

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) – A new $ 159 million rent assistance fund will begin accepting tenant applications today. The Houston-Harris County Emergency Rental Assistance Program will allow tenants and landlords to apply for and obtain financing within days of treatment, according to Natalie Wood, senior vice president of programs for residents. Catholic charities.

Harris County and the City of Houston are channeling the program through Baker Ripley and Catholic Charities. Landlords can already register and tenant applications will be accepted from today.

Wood said the program is not on a first come, first served basis.

“The individuals, of course, will be selected at random,” said Wood. “We are going to favor [the] the most vulnerable. “

Applicants will also benefit from the help of several local nonprofits that will market themselves as “shipping agencies” to help families complete the application process nearby.

“As soon as we get the documents required by the client and the owner and are able to process them, they can have money within days of processing,” said Wood.

Eligible families could get up to 12 months of housing assistance.

Renters and landlords can apply through the HoustonHarrisHelp website, where you can find frequently asked questions and a list of required documents. As of today, a dedicated hotline will also be open at 832-402-7568 to help answer questions.

Some small businesses that were previously not eligible for the Paycheck Protection Program (P3) loan were able to start applying as of Wednesday, February 24.

President Joe Biden’s administration and the US Small Business Administration have changed the criteria for the Paycheck Protection Program to ensure that small businesses with fewer than 20 employees can receive the COVID-19 relief aid they need. need.

“In fact, that’s the majority of businesses,” said deputy manager Mark Winchester of the SBA Houston district office. “There are over 750,000 small businesses in Houston and 618,000 of those small businesses are businesses with less than 20 employees.”

The 14-day exclusivity period began on Wednesday, February 24, 2021 at 9 a.m., while the other four changes will be implemented by the first week of March.

Sarah Lieberman, owner of Dandelion Café, said when the pandemic hit businesses the hardest last year, she had to lay off some of her employees and applied for two different loans, including the PPP. Lieberman said it helped keep his business afloat.

“Once we got the PPP we were able to bring everyone back and we actually grew and attracted even more people over the last few months which is very exciting,” Lieberman said.

She said her business was not eligible this time around, but was relieved to learn that others who had not received P3s before will be able to do so now.

“It’s a lifeline.” said Winchester. “Businesses are struggling right now with the pandemic and they need cash and with the PPP these small businesses will be able to access additional capital.”

For more details on the SBA, click here.

If you need help completing the application, you can visit the following locations on Saturdays. February 27 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m .:

  • Annex Jim Fonteno at 14350 Wallisville
  • Harris County Precinct 1 Building at 2727 El Camino
  • Iron Workers Local 84 Apprentice Training Center at 7521 Fauna St

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