Irving, TX

Irving City Council holds Special Session for emergency rental assistance for residents

Stacey Doud

Like most states, counties and cities, Irving, TX is feeling the continued effects of COVID-19.

On Monday January 11, the Irving City Council held a Special Meeting to address the issue of authorizing the necessary paperwork to move forward to obtain the available emergency rental assistance payments administered by the U.S Department of the Treasury (DoT), as well as authorizing the Mayor to execute any necessary documents on behalf of the City of Irving.

This meeting was called last-minute because the deadline to submit completed payment information and a signed accepted award terms form must be submitted by January 12 (tomorrow) to ensure that payments are made within the 30-day period required by the statute.

Many families and businesses had been counting on the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act), which provided exemption from being evicted because of hardships caused by COVID-19.

On December 27, 2020, President Donald J. Trump signed into law the Continued Assistance Act, which extends the unemployment benefits claim programs created under the CARES Act.

The CARES Act established The Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) program. The program temporarily expands unemployment benefit eligibility to self-employed workers, part-time workers, and others who may not have traditional jobs.

Locally, if approved, the City may receive funds via the Emergency Rental Assistance Program, which was designed to help those residents who have been affected financially by COVID-19 and are unable to pay rent and/or utilities. $25 billion was appropriated by the DoT to help state and local governments to use for rental assistance programs.

If awarded, at least 90% of the funds must be used for direct financial assistance, such as rent, rental arrears, utilities and home energy costs, utilities and home energy cost arrears, and other expenses related to housing.

The remaining 10% of the awarded funds may be used for housing stability services, including case management and other services, which are intended to keep households stably housed, and take care of administrative costs.

Qualifications for families who rent and have at least one person in the household that meets the criteria of participation in the program, should it be approved, include:

  • Qualification for unemployment
  • Has experienced a reduction in household income
  • Has accrued significant extra costs or a financial hardship because of the pandemic
  • Can prove that they are at-risk for homelessness or housing instability
  • Household income at or below 80% of the area median income

Priority will be given to households that:

  • Do not exceed 50% of the area median income
  • Have one or more individuals within the household who are unemployed as of the date of the application
  • Have been unemployed for at least 90 days before the date of application.

Qualified households may receive up to 12 months of assistance, plus an additional three months if the DoT determines that the extra months are needed to ensure housing stability and if funds are still available.

Contingent on the success of the Emergency Rental Assistance Program, an application for rental assistance may be submitted by either an eligible household or by a landlord on behalf of that family.

Stay tuned to get more information about this attempt at relief in Irving. Since this is a federal, program, it is available to every town, township and city that needs assistance.

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