FORT BEND COUNTY, Texas - Fort Bend and Montgomery County Commissioners are working to help families struggling to pay housing and utility bills.
The Federal C.A.R.E.S. Act included money for counties to distribute as needed. Out of its $134 million, Fort Bend County is allocating about $20 million for rent and mortgage help, plus another $2 million for utility assistance.
"Over the last three months so far, Social Services has received well over 15,000 phone calls and assisted approximately 2,500 residents in Fort Bend County," said Anna Gonzalez, Director of Fort Bend Social Services.
To help meet that great need, Fort Bend is now giving out more than $20 million in three phases, in June, August, and October. Each round will be $1,500 per household the rent or mortgage, and $500 for utilities.
After seeing the Harris County money run out in just 90 minutes, Fort Bend County Judge K.P. George says only about 500 people applied the first day, but don't wait.
"I encourage your viewers, don't make your judgement by yourself, 'Maybe I will not qualify,' or things of that nature. Just apply anyway," said George.
You'll need to show your lease, mortgage, or utility bills. The County will pay the bills directly. And immigrants can show a government ID from any country to qualify.
"We are not here to decide who is a citizen, who is not a citizen. That's not our job," said Judge George.
While the money is designated for current bills, Social Services will determine if it can be used for back owed bills.
Montgomery County Commissioners greenlighted Commissioner Noack's proposal to return $65 million dollars to taxpayers, but the plan still needs U.S. Treasury approval.
It would send $500 stimulus to each homeowner as of April first of this year, which is more than 130,000 homes.
Recipients must be U.S. Citizens and current on their property taxes. Commissioners also approved $10 million for rental assistance with more details to come.
Fort Bend Commissioners also allocated $22 million to help small businesses starting in two weeks.