Harris County taking applications for $40 million in emergency assistance relief

Catholic Charities is now taking applications for emergency assistance aid from the $40 million Harris County has available. 

Meanwhile, prisoners are now eligible for federal stimulus checks. Here's a round-up of COVID-19 assistance currently available.


You're about to meet two moms with several children, both facing the possibility of being out on the street.

"Without any work and the pandemic getting worse again, people are still laying off.  The rental assistance programs they do have in Houston...there's nothing consistent. Landlords are getting very frustrated. They're tired of taking IOU's," said Marquise Knight.

Knight says she is a mother of three, behind on rent, and has received a notice to vacate her apartment. "My two youngest, my oldest boy and my youngest daughter, they have disabilities," she says.

Ebony Crosby says she's a mother of four and has already lost her own home. She says a relative was letting them stay in her apartment until she says management locked them out. "Everything I had in there for me and my children, I have a one-year-old, a two-year-old, a ten-year-old, and an 11-year-old, it's gone," she said.

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They're among tens of thousands of people desperately hoping to get Harris County's new Emergency Direct Assistance. The County expects to give $1200 payments to 33,000 families for any emergency expense, whether it's rent, food, utilities, etc.  

Harris County residents can apply through the Catholic Charities website through November 6.

To qualify, someone in the house must receive public assistance or the family must earn below 60% of the HUD area median family income.  

Recipients cannot have already received prior Harris County COVID-19 related aid and must have lost income due to COVID-19.

Some BakerRipley funds still available

In addition, BakerRipley says tenants can also now apply for Harris County rental assistance for the months of September and October.

Harris County Commissioners approved an increase in the household income limit to 60 percent of area median income, expanding the eligibility requirements to assist more residents.  

Tenants whose landlords have not enrolled in the program can still apply. BakerRipley is working with partner agencies to help applicants get assistance.

Eviction Assistance Program

The Harris County Precinct One Constable office, South Texas College of Law Houston, Lone Star Legal Aid and the Harris County Constable Precinct One Foundation are hosting an event to educate renters about the new Eviction Assistance Program.  

The event will take place Friday, Nov. 6 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Harvest Time Church at 17770 Imperial Valley Drive.  

The public can also contact Precinct One Chief of Staff Erica Davis at (832) 286-3876.

Prisoners are eligible for federal stimulus checks.

A federal court has ruled that local, state, and federal prisoners are eligible for up to $1200 in federal stimulus checks.

"The rationale behind the people who actually sued over this was that they were being unfairly treated because the law that was passed by Congress didn't explicitly exclude them. It was an IRS decision that excluded them," explained Karyna Lopez with Lone Star Legal Aid.

The IRS is appealing the decision. Meanwhile, prisoners must either enter their bank account information into the IRS non-filer portal by November 21 or fill out an IRS form 1040 and mail it to the IRS by November 4.  

The IRS is sending prisons 1040 forms to give to prisoners, but family members can also bring an inmate the form to sign and mail it for them.  

Family members or representatives with power-of-attorney are not allowed to enter the prisoner's information online.

"There's nothing about sentences or anything about that.  They just have to submit their documentation by November 21," said Lopez.