HOUSTON - The first half of the $30 million Harris County COVID-19 Relief Fund has been disbursed to local organizations, and the second $15 million will be disbursed to the public through an application process that will open later this month.
The fund, which is administered by Greater Houston Community Foundation, was to be distributed in two parts. Half of the money would be disbursed to local community based-organizations. The other $15 million would provide grants to families to pay for expenses like rent, food, medical care, child care, and other basic needs.
The Harris County COVID-19 Relief Fund was approved during Harris County Commissioners Court in May.
The first $15 million was disbursed on June 12 to 44 local organizations that will provide vulnerable individuals and families support for housing, electricity, food, childcare, and other essential needs. Officials say these trusted organizations will utilize funds to provide financial assistance to eligible individuals and families they are already engaged with.
“This first round of funding disbursement is an important step forward in helping our county’s most vulnerable, hard-working families,” said Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo. “The economic fallout from COVID-19 has caused incredible financial hardship on our community and we’ll continue to do all we can to get relief to those that need it most. I’m proud to partner with the Greater Houston Community Foundation and the many nonprofits who have stepped up to make an impactful difference in Harris County.”
The fund was established to provide relief to Harris County residents impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Officials say the fund aims to serve the most vulnerable individuals and families, in particular county residents who may not be eligible for other COVID-related funding or assistance.
“I’m extremely excited that our most vulnerable neighbors in the Harris County communities hardest hit by the pandemic are going to begin receiving financial relief. Our neighbors who have a greater risk of losing everything require support to meet their most basic needs of food, shelter, childcare, and medical costs,” said Harris County Precinct 1 Commissioner Rodney Ellis. “On behalf of Harris County residents, I give my sincere thanks to Greater Houston Community Foundation and the trusted nonprofits embedded in culturally and geographically diverse communities for getting this program up and running in a three-week period.”
The second half of the fund will be disbursed through an application process that will open on June 23 and June 24. Eligible low-income Harris County residents will be able to complete the application either online or over the phone.
The fund is open to all eligible low-income Harris County residents — regardless of status — including immigrant households, those who may receive Pandemic Unemployment Assistance but cannot afford to wait for months, and those ineligible for CARES Act payments or unemployment insurance.
The application will screen for key eligibility criteria. Recipients must:
- Be eligible for and receiving services from a long list of public benefits programs OR be under 60% of area median income
- Be a resident of Harris County
- Have been economically impacted by COVID-19
- Not have received funding from a City or County COVID-19 financial assistance program
The online application will open June 23 at 6 a.m. and close on June 24 at 10 p.m. at harriscountyrelief.org
The phone application will be open June 23 from 6 a.m. to 2 p.m. and June 24 from 2 p.m. to 10 p.m. Call (832)848-0214
More detailed information regarding eligibility requirements, how to access the application online and over the phone, and what residents will need to prepare for the application, will be released in the coming week.
“I am pleased to see this happening for so many in our communities who are struggling because of this pandemic. There is an urgent need, so there is no time to sit idly by,” said Harris County Precinct 2 Commissioner Adrian Garcia. “This fund is intended to provide emergency financial assistance to families who need it the most and who are most at risk of being evicted from their homes. I am confident that our partners at The Greater Houston Community Foundation will do good a job managing this fund.”
The latest updates about the fund will be posted on the fund’s website at www.harriscountyrelief.org.