3 Ways To Avoid Eviction If You Cannot Find Rental Assistance In Houston
In this guide, I will talk to you about steps that you can take to avoid eviction if you cannot find rental assistance in Houston.
Even in the best of times, nonprofits are strapped for cash and this makes it difficult to find rental assistance. During the COVID 19 pandemic, there is an even greater demand for rental assistance which makes it more difficult to find help to pay bills. Because of this anyone having financial struggles is encouraged to learn about alternative actions they can take to avoid eviction in the event that they cannot come up with the money needed to pay their rent or utility bills.
I’m Nick Bryant founder of Houstoncasemanagers.com where we help citizens and health care professionals fund the resources they need like rental assistance, utility assistance, and similar resources.
Today I will talk to you about 3 actions you can take to avoid eviction if you have a sudden loss of income due to COVID-19.
Search For Rental Assistance By Zip Code
|Agency||Address||Phone||Type of Assistance||Area/Zip Code served||Hourss|
|AIDS Foundation HoustonWeb||6260 Westpark Dr #100||713.623.6796||Only offers assistance to clients with HIV and AIDS. Offers housing, mental health, substance abuse, assistance applying for SNAP, TANF, Medicaid, Texas Women's Health Plan||Harris County||M-F 930 to 4pm. Walk ins welcome but priority is given to those with appointments.|
|Baytown Resource & Assistance Center Web||5309 Decker Dr||281.424.5752. *Must make an appointment.||Utilities, Clothing for Children, Employment assistance services||Residents of McNair, Baytown, Highlands or Chambers County||Mon: 8 to 5pm. Closed from 12 to 1pm for lunch.|
|Avenue 360 (formerly Bearing Omega and Houston Area Community Services) Web||2150 West 18th Street||713.426.0027||Housing referrals, medical support, Rent, Mental Health||HIV/AIDs clients only||M - F: 8 to 5pm|
|Bethel's Heavenly HandsWeb||12660 Sandpiper Dr||713.729.6477||Food, Clothing, Thursday Food Distributions, Senior Commodity Program,||Harris County||Mon, Tues, Fri|
|Braes Interfaith MinistriesWeb||4300 W. Bellfort||713.723.2671||Food, Clothing||SW: 77025, 77035, 77045, 77051, 77053, 77054, 77071, 77085, 77096||M-F 730a - 530p|
|Brentwood Community Foundation Web||13033 1/2 Landmark Street||713.852.2551||Resources for those with HIV/AIDS. Rent, Mortgage, Food, Utilities, housing referrals||Those with HIV/AIDS in Houston area||M-F 8am to 5pm|
|Catholic Charities Main Office Web||2900 Louisiana |
Other Locations: Houston Locations
|713.874.6590 or 713.526.4611||Rent, Utilities, Food, Counseling, Adoption, Immigration, Limited Financial Assistance, Saturday Food Fairs, Case Management, Help applying for SNAP, Medicaid, TANF,||77003, 77004, 77011, 77012, 77013, 77020, 77021, 77023, 77029, 77030, 77054, 77547||M-F 730a - 530p|
|Chinese Community CenterWeb||9800 Town Park||713.271.6100||Utilities (must have cut off notice), Weatherization, Adult day program, Gold Card Application Assistance, Income Tax Help, SNAP, Free Legal Clinic, Citizenship Application Assistance,||77024, 77036, 77042, 77056, 77057, 77063, 77072, 77074, 77077, 77079, 77081, 77082, 77083, 77094, 77099, 77450, 77494, 77477,||Tues 9am - 12pm|
|Christian Community CenterWeb||3434 Branard||713.871.9741||Rent, Utilities, Food, Clothing, Vocational Training, Jobnet Program||W-SW: 77002, 77003, 77004, 77005, 77006, 77007, 77010, 77011, 77012, 77019, 77020, 77021, 77023, 77025, 77026, 77027, 77030, 77046, 77056, 77057, 77081, 77096, 77098, 77401||M-F 10a - 2pm Sat 9a - 12p (food and clothing only)|
|City Fellowship Church Christian Rescue Mission Web||3220 Hadley||713.659.7750||Rent, Utilities, Food||Harris County||Tues-F: 10a -12p|
|City of Houston Water Aid To Elderly Residents Program||4200 Leeland Houston, TX 77023|
Mail application here.
|713.371.1400||Assistance paying water bill. $100 every six months.||Low income seniors (60+) residing in Houston are the priority. Individuals w disabilities and low income families are also encourage to apply. Web||Water Assistance Application: Web|
|City Wide ClubWeb||Multiple locations||713.752.2582||Rent, Utilities, Food, Employment Referrals, Housing and Shelter Recovery Program - room and board for families, seniors, homeless faced w physical, mental substance abuse challenges, Project Warm-Up helps with electric heaters and utilities, Project Cool Down helps w fans and shelters in summer||Harris County and surrounding areas||Tues-Th 10a-1p|
|Covenant House Texas Web||1111 Lovett Blvd||713.523.2231||Crisis shelter, Transitional shelter for youth ages 18 to 20. Medical and clothing provided. Job placement for young adults.||Houston area||M-F 8a to 5p|
|Comprehensive Energy Assistance Program (CEAP) Web||713.957.4357 or 211||Utilities Assistance for low income seniors (60+) and/or have documented disability expected to last 12 months||Harris County||M-F 8a-5p|
|Cypress Area Ministries Web||11202 Huffmeister||281.955.7684||Rent, utilities, food, clothing. CAM may pay a portion of the past due balance on a utility bill. The client is required to pay the balance of the amount past due, or have a pledge for that amount, prior to CAM’s paying the pledged amount.||77065, 77095, 77429, 77433||M-F 10a-2p|
|Fair Haven Methodist Church Web||1330 Gessner||713.476.4346 or (713) 468-3276||Food||77024, 77027, 77041, (Carverdale only), 77043, 77055, 77056, 77079, 77080,||M-F 10a-2p|
|First Baptist ChurchWeb||8009 Long Point||713.554.8801 or (281) 229-9166||Rent, mortgage, utilities, food, prescriptions||NW: Harris County||M-Th 730a-11a Walk Ins only|
|Gulf Coast Community Services Web||9320 Kirby Dr||713.393.4700||Rent, utilities, food, clothing, Q cards, eyewear vouchers||SE: Harris County||M-F 8a-5p|
|Harris County Housing Authority Housing Choice Voucher Web||8933 Interchange Dr.||713.578.2100||Housing Choice Vouchers distributed during open enrollment||Harris County||M-F 8a-5p|
|Harris County Social Services Web||9418 Jense Drive||713.696.7900||Rent, Utilities, Bereavement, Veteran services||Harris County||M-F 8a-5p|
|Hester HouseWeb||2020 Solo||713.274.1394||Hot meals/seniors summer/youth camp||NW - 5th Ward||M-F 8a-5p|
|Houston Volunteers of America Web||4808 Yale Street (Independence Heights Location)|
731 West Davis Conroe, TX
|713.460.0781 or 817.529.7300||Assistance applying for SNAP, Medicaid, FASFA, Tax Season Assistance, Employment Placement Assistance Program for Healthcare jobs, Deaf and Blind Services, Day Habilitation Center for those with special needs, Residential Group Homes for children and adults with special needs, Substance Abuse Treatment, Housing for seniors and those with a disability, Homeless Veterans Help||Houston and surrounding areas||M-F 8a - 5p|
|Housing Authority of City of HoustonWeb||2640 Fountain View Dr||713.260.0600||Housing Choice Vouchers and Public Housing||M-F 8a-5p *By appointment.|
|Humble Area Ministries Web||1302 First Street||281.446.3663||Food, rent, utilities, |
Employment services, Clothing, Prescription Assistance, Birth Certificate and ID Assistance, Assistance with Eyeglasses
|77336, 77345, 77347, 77372, 77338, 77346, 77357, 77396, 77339, 77347, 77365, 77532,||7 days a week/24 hours a day answering machine, leave message|
|Interfaith Caring Ministries Web||151 Park Ave, League City||281.332.3881||Rent, utilities, minor home repair, and food for seniors (55+)||Clear Creek ISD, Friendswood ISD, Clear Lake, Webster, 77034, 77058, 77059, 77062, 77089, 77546, 77565, 77573, 77586, 77598||M-F 830a-430p *by appointment|
|Immaculate Conception Catholic ChurchWeb||7250 Harrisburgh||713.921.1261||Food||77011, 77012||Thurs 930a - 1130m|
|Katy Christian Social Ministries Web||5011 East 5th St Katy, TX||281.391.9623||Rent, mortgage, utilities, food, clothing||77084, 77094, 77406, 77423, 77441, 77449, 77450, 77464, 77476, 77485, 77493, 77494||M-Th 830a-12p 1230p -5p|
|Larkin Community Center Web||5410 Larkin||713.869.9143||Rent and Utility assistance to seniors and families with children||M - F 8am to 5pm|
|LINC Houston Community Services Web||1504 Johnson Street||713.426.2451||Food, Prescriptions, Eye glasses, Rent, Security Deposit, Clothes, CHIP, Medicaid, Gold Card, Home Repair||Mon, Wed, Fri: 9 to 3pm|
|Lone Star Legal Aid Web||1415 Fannin||713.652.0077 or 713.652.5911||Legal services to low income individuals||Harris, Ft Bend and Montgomery County||M-F 830a - 1230p|
|MANNA - Ministry Assistance of the Near Northwest Allicance Web||1806 W. 43rd Street||346.335.2950 or 713.682.7556||Utility, Gas, Rent, Clothing, Food, Assistance with SNAP, TANF, Medicaid, CHIP,||77007, 77008, 77009, 77018, 77022, 77037, 77040, 77076, 77088, 77091, 77092,||M: 8 to 11, Tues and Thurs: 915 to 1115am.|
|Memorial Area MinistriesWeb||1625 Blalock||English 713.574.7533 Spanish 713.574.7536||Rent, water, gas, medical assistance, prescriptions, transportation, clothing, Rapid Re-Housing,||77008, 77009, 77018, 77022, 77024, 77037, 77039, 77040, 77041, 77043, 77055, 77076, 77079, 77080, 77088, 77091, 77092,||M-F 9a - 4p. Call between 9a - 12p M-F to set up an appointment.|
|My Brother's Keeper Outreach Center Web||12713 A Bissonnet||281.489.9933||Financial Assistance, Rent, Utilities, Food Pantry,|
|Mayors Office for People with Disabilities Web||1475 West Gray||832.394.0814 email@example.com||Advocacy Services||City of Houston||M-F 8a - 5p|
|North Channel Assistance MiWeb nistries||13837 Bonham||713.453.8028||Food, food stamp application help, Medicaid application help, clothing,||77013, 77015, 77029, 77044, 77049, 77078, 77530,||M-F 8a-2p|
|Northwest Assistance Ministries Web||15555 Kuykendahl||281.583.5600||Rent, mortgage, gas, water, prescriptions, gas vouchers, dental and medical,||77014, 77032, 77038, 77050, 77060, 77064, 77066, 77067, 77068, 77069, 77070, 77073, 77086, 77090, 77373, 77379, 77388, 77389,||Tues 1p-4p Call for an appointment.|
|Operation ID Web||5100 Travis Street||713.620.6476||Texas Identification Card||Harris County||Tues & Thurs 9a-1130a. You will need a referral/voucher from an agency that Operation ID partners with.|
|Pasadena Community MinistriesWeb||2301 South Houston||713.477.4336||Rent, utilities, food, clothing,||Pasadena, Deer Park,||Tues 9a - 12p. Th 1p-4p|
|Riceville Baptist ChurchWeb||11231 Gessner||713.774.4880||Food, clothing, financial assistance, prison ministry||1st Wed of Month, 6p. Call for appointments.|
|Salvation ArmyWeb||1500 Austin Street||713.752.0677||Rent, Food, Clothing, Utilities (water only), Senior Housing (62+)||Harris County||M-Th 830a - 430p|
|Saras HouseWeb||711 Perla||713.475.1480||Shelter, meals, clothing (women & children)||Pasadena|
|Baker Ripley Web||3838 Aberdeen Way 77025||713-590-2327||Case management, care giver support, dementia adult day program, utilities, must be under 150% FPL, preferences to elderly, disabled, clients w children under 5 yrs, no deposits or reconnection fees,||77016, 77020, 77026, 77028, 77004, 77021, 77033, 77051, 77087, 77003, 77011, 77012, 77020, 77023, 77034, 77058, 77059, 77062, 77075, 77089, 77502, 77504, 77506, 77571, 77598,||Call for appointment|
|Senior Jobs Program (AARP)Web||12727 Featherwood Dr||281.922.9952||Jobs,||Harris County||M-F 930a - 230p|
|Spring-Woodlands Ministries Web||810 E. Louetta Suite A-E||281.353.4480||Food, clothing||77373, 77338, 77389, 77379, 77380, 77381, 77382, 77386, 77388,||M 1p-3p, W 9a-1130a, Thur 1p-3p|
|Society of St. Stephen Web||1062 Fairmont Parkway||281.487.1774||Rent, utilities, food,||77502, 77503, 77505, 77506, 77507||T-F New clients: 10a-1p|
|Society of St Vincent de PaulWeb||2403 Holcombe Blvd||713.741.8234 ext 101||Food, Clothing, Rent, Utility||City of Houston Zip Codes Only||M -F 9am - 5pm|
|Southeast Area Ministries SEAMWeb||2102 Houston Blvd||713.944.0093||Rent, Utilities, Food, Clothing, Ongoing Senior assistance, Christmas assistance program, Prescription, Medical Supply assistance||SE: 77017, 77034, 77061, 77075, 77087, 77089, 77504, 77587,||M-Th 10am - 1:30pm|
|St Bernadette Church Web||15500 El Camino Real||281.486.0337||Food, Clothes, Rent, Utilities,||Clear Lake: 77058, 77059, 77062, 77598,||Tues: 930 to 1130am Thurs: 930 to 1130 Wed: Appt only|
|St. Cecilia ChurchWeb||11720 Joan of Arc Drive||713.468.1185||Rent, Utilities, Food,||NW: 77024, 77043, 77055||M-Th: 9am through 12pm|
|St Christopher Catholic ChurchWeb||8150 Park Place||713.645.6614||Food||SE: 77012, 77017, 77061,||Sat: 930 to 11am|
|St. Hyacinth Catholic Church Web||2921 Center St, Deer Park||281.479.4298||Rent, Utilities, Food||Deer Park: 77536||M - F: 930 to 12pm 1pm to 430pm|
|St. John Vianney Social Services Web||625 Nottingham Oaks||281.497.4434||Utilities, Food, Clothing,||W: 77043, 77055 (Food & Clothing only) 77077, 77079 (Food, Clothing, Utilities )||M-F: 830 to 530pm|
|St. Joseph Catholic ChurchWeb||1505 Kane Street||713.222.8903||Rent, Utilities, Food,||77007, 77008, 77009,||M-T: 9am to 12pm 130 to 330pm|
|St Mary Magdalene Church||527 South Houston Ave, Humble||281.540.1907||Rent, Utilities, Food,||NE: 77338, East of Lee Rd, 77346, (Only apartment complexes)||M, W, F only. 930 to 1145am - 1st 12 people.|
|St Pious Catholic Church Web||824 Main - Pasadena||713.473.9484||Food, Rent, Utilities, Immigrant Legal Assistance, Free Health Screenings,||Pasadena: 77501, 77507, 77536, 77547, 77587,||Tues & Thurs: 10am to 1230pm|
|Target Hunger Service CenterWeb||2814 Quitman||713.226.4953||Emergency Food, Food Pantries, Monthly Food Fairs, Senior Home Delivery Program, Senior Day Site Program||77015, 77016, 77020, 77026, 77028, 77078,||M-F: 9am to 5pm|
|The Bridge Over Troubled WatersWeb||3811 Allen-Genoa Rd||713.473.2801||Emergency Shelter for Domestic Abuse Victims||Harris County|
|The House of AmosWeb||8030 Boone Rd||281.495.9061||Food, Citizenship Classes, Lunches every Saturday, Free immunizations to uninsured children.||M-Th: 9am to 12pm Sat: 10am to 12pm|
|Tomball Emergency Assistance Ministries (TEAM) Web||300 W Main Street Tomball, TX 77375||281.351.6700||Utilities, Gas vouchers, Clothing, Food, Medical and Dental vouchers, Temporary Shelter||Tomball zip codes 77375, 77377 or you live within Tomball school district.||Tues and Thurs: 10am to 1pm. Application must be completed in person.|
|The Houston Food Bank Web||535 Portwall||832.369.9390||Emergency Food Pantry, Help applying for SNAP, TANF, CHIP, Medicaid||M-F: 8am to 5pm Sat: Telephone hotline only 8am to 4pm|
|United Way Web||211||Referrals for Food, Shelter, Rent, Utilities, Housing, Shelters, Substance Abuse||Harris County|
|Wesley Community CenterWeb||1410 Lee Street||713.223.8131 ext 245||Rent, Utilities, Food, Financial Education, Employment coaching, Help applying for Medicaid, SNAP, TANF,||Harris County||Friday Starts at 8am. Appointments Only. No appointment needed for Food.|
|West Houston Assistance MinistriesWeb||10501 Meadowglen Lane||713.977.9942||Mortgage, Food, Utilities, Clothing, Employment Assistance, Bus Passes for job related trips, Work Clothes,||77042, 77057, 77063, 77072, 77077, 77082,||M - F: 10am - 1pm|
|Wheeler Avenue Baptist Church Web||3826 Wheeler||713.747.7101||Rent, Mortgage, Utilities, Food, Women's Housing (Badge Bush). Visit there site they help in plenty of ways.||SE: 77770||M-Th: 9 - 1230pm F: 9-1130am *Appointment only|
|Windsor Village Social ServicesWeb||12041 1/2 Post Oak Rd||713.551.8792||Rent, Mortgage, Utilities, Food,||Harris County and Ft Bend County||Appointment only Monday 8am to 11am Food: T-W 9am to 11am. Th 1030am to 1230pm|
|Pearland Neighborhood CenterWeb||2335 N Texas Ave, Pearland, TX 77581||281-485-1987, firstname.lastname@example.org||Rent, Utilities, Gas, Food and Baby Pantry, Bread Pantry, Santa's Helpers Program, School Supply Vouchers, Emergency Assistance, Finanical Stability Course, GED Scholarships, Disaster Relief||Brazoria County||M - F 8 to 5|
|East Fort Bend Human Needs Ministry WWebeb||435 Stafford Run Road |
Stafford, Texas 77477-5639
|281 261-1006||Food, rent, utilities, resale shop, Christmas and Thanksgiving Meals, Backpacks for kids,||East Fort Bend - 77053, 77459, 77477, 77478, 77479, 77489, 77545, 77583||281 261-1006|
|Epiphany Community Health Outreach Services (ECHOS) WWebeb||9600 S. Gessner, Bldg. E |
Houston, Texas 77071
|713 270-0369||Gold Card, Medcaid, SNAP, Food, ESL, Computer Literacy, Voter Registration, Child Immunizations, Vision Screening, Domestic Abuse Counseling and support groups,||Serves Greater Houston||713 270-0369|
|Emergency Aid Coalition (EAC) WWebeb||5401 Fannin Street |
Houston, Texas 77004-6808
|(713) 522-5903||Food Pantry + Clothing (M-F 8:30am), Lunch Program (M - F + Sunday 11 am & 1pm, Backpacks (register in March)||Serves Greater Houston||(713) 522-5903|
|Interfaith of the Woodlands WebWeb||4242 Interfaith Way|
The Woodlands, Texas 77381
|(832) 615-8219||Rent, mortgage, utilities, prescription drugs, food, clothing, emergency shelter, Christmas gifts for kids, primary care, dental, womens health, senior transportation, senior grocery delivery,||Woodlands - 77375, 77380, 77381, 77382, 77384, 77385, 77386, 77389,||(832) 615-8219|
|My Brother's Keeper Outreach Center (not COH Program) WWebeb||12713A Bissonnet |
Houston, TX 77099
|(281) 498-9933||Rent, utilities, Food, School supplies, Thanksgiving / Christmas Meal Program, Christmas gifts for kids, Easter baskets,||77031, 77035, 77036, 77042, 77056, 77071, 77072, 77074, 77081, 77082, 77083, 77085, 77096, 77099, 77401, 77477, 77478,||(281) 498-9933|
|St. Vincent's House - Galveston Web||2-2817 Alfreda Houston Place|
Galveston, Texas 77550
|(409) 763-8521||Vision + Dental clinic, Mental Health Counseling, Speech, Physical Occupational Therapy, Rent, Utilities, Case Management, Transportation,||Galveston - 77591, 77568, 77590, 77563, 77554, 77551, 77550, 77555, 77552, 77553,||(409) 763-8521|
|Hero Houston WWebeb||12335 Kingsride, Box 230, Houston, TX 77024||(713) 932-3996||Offers services to seniors in the Memorial and Spring Branch area. Transportation to medical appointments, light handyman work, help filling out documents and senior service referrals.||Memorial and Spring Branch area. 77024 77043 77055 77079 77080||Monday - Friday 8 to 5|
|Public Utility commission of Texas (PUC) Web||888.782.8477 or 512.936.7500||Will not turn of utilities or electricity if you have a need for medical equipment or you are on life support|
|COVID-19 Electricity Relief Program web||866.454.8387 or 888.782.8477||The Texas COVID-19 Electricity Relief Program (CERP) helps consumers who are having trouble paying bills due to job loss or other related hardship.||Who is eligible for the Texas COVID-19 Electricity Relief Plan?|
Residential customers that qualify for unemployment or that are low income qualify for the Texas COVID-19 Electricity Relief Plan. Once approved for the Texas COVID-19 Electricity Relief Program, you will remain on the program for up to six months.
During that time, your electricity provider cannot disconnect your electricity for non-payment.
|Fort Bend County WWeb eb||301 Jackson Street, Richmond, TX 77469||281.238.2273 or 281.633.7795||Rent and utility assistance||Serves Fort Bend County and zip codes:77406, 77417, 77420, 77430, 77435, 77441, 77444, 77451, 77459, 77461, 77464|
77469, 77471, 77476
77478, 77477, 77479
77481, 77485, 77489, 77496, 77494, 77407, 77498, 77545
|Open normal business hours 8 to 5 pm|
In addition to helping you with rent assistance, they can also help with utilities, food, clothing, toiletries, and more. These are good starting points if you need help in multiple areas due to a financial setback.
If you contact the agencies that assist your zip code but they are out of funding then you should resort to these next steps.
1. Talk To Your Employer About Potential Financial Assistance
First, speak with your employer to see if they are offering any assistance in the form of Families First Act funds or voluntary payments. If there is assistance this income can be used to help you avoid eviction and keep you afloat until you recover.
Some employers (emphasis on some) offer up to two weeks of paid time off to anyone who is exposed to COVID-19 and this could be an option. Not every company offers this benefit but you should definitely speak with your supervisor or someone in human resources to see if this is an option for you.
Families First ACT Funding
The Families First Act is a federal law that required certain employers to offer employees paid sick leave in the event they need to quarantine with COVID-19.
Editor’s note: The Families First Act expired on December 31st, however, the Consolidated Appropriations Act has made it possible for employers to continue providing paid leave for employees through March 31, 2021 if they choose to do so. Employers who provide paid leave during this time will receive a payroll tax credit. Essentially the Consolidated Appropriations Act has replaced Families First Act.
I won’t get into the weeds on exactly which companies can offer sick leave under this act (see the legal section below), but if your employer does offer paid leave, they may be able to provide you with financial assistance during your quarantine.
Voluntary Payments From Your Employer
There are some employers who aren’t subject to the Families First Act but still provide voluntary pay to their employees. If your employer offered voluntary pay, you would likely know about it, however, if you are struggling financially it does not hurt to ask.
Editor’s note: If you are in a situation where you need income soon, asking your employer could be the quickest way to get cash needed for rental assistance. The alternative is to apply for unemployment, however, that is a much slower process. We will discuss it in the next section.
Apply For Unemployment Through Texas Workforce Commission
In the event your employer does not have benefits to pay you while you are off, the next option is to contact Texas Workforce Commission and apply for unemployment benefits.
Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic individuals who had a job did not qualify for unemployment benefits. The current pandemic has changed these requirements because now there are more ways to qualify for unemployment benefits even if you have a job.
|How Much Does Texas Workforce Commission Pay In Unemployment Benefits Per Week?||The standard benefit amount is $69 – $521|
|How Long Texas Unemployment Benefits Last?||26 week at most|
|What Is The Waiting Period?||1 week (temporarily waived)|
|How Do Texas Unemployment Benefits Work In Relation To COVID0-19?||Employees could qualify for benefits if they have been laid off, lost hours, or must stay home to care for a family member who has COVID-19.|
|Where Can I Search For Work In Texas?||You can use the Texas Workforce Commission Job Seekers Guide to find employment opportunities near you.|
|Where Can I Find More Information About Unemployment Benefits Related To COVID-19?||The Texas Workforce Commission Frequently Asked Questions page has lots of answers to questions about unemployment benefits.|
|How Do I Apply For Unemployment In Texas?||Visit the Texas Workforce Commission website to apply for unemployment benefits.|
|What Is The Number To Texas Workforce Commission?||The number to file for unemployment in Texas is 800.939.6631.|
Review these next scenarios because if you qualify, you could use your unemployment benefits to pay for rent, utilities, and any other basic needs that you need help paying for.
Laid Off From Your Job
The first way to qualify for unemployment benefits if you were temporarily or permanently laid off from your job. If you are in a situation you should definitely be contacting the Texas Workforce Commission to see what benefits you are entitled to.
Missed Time At Work Due To COVID-19
The next scenario that you would want to apply for unemployment benefits is if you have missed work due to quarantine with covid-19. This applies to you if you have missed hours of earnings due to quarantine. This benefit can reimburse you for the time that you missed due to your quarantine.
Reduced Hours Due To COVID-19
If you still have your job and you’re currently working although your hours have been reduced this is another scenario in which you might qualify for Texas unemployment benefits.
This benefit is called partial unemployment benefits.
You could qualify for partial unemployment if you meet the following:
- Reduction in hours through no fault of your own
- This reduction causes a loss of earnings
- You lose 37% of your hours. Essentially if you go from 40 hours a week to 25 hours, you could qualify for partial unemployment benefits.
You Must Take Care Of A Family Member With COVID-19
If a family member has covid-19 and you must care for this individual you could qualify for unemployment benefits.
Self Employed But Unable To Work
The Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) is an unemployment program for individuals who are self-employed or work in the gig economy (Uber, Door Dash, etc).
2. Speak To Your Landlord
If you cannot find rental assistance you should consider speaking with your landlord as soon as possible in an effort to avoid eviction.
In my experience clients who have spoken with their landlords in advance, have been given more leeway when it comes to extensions to pay their rent.
Once you know that you won’t be able to pay rent for the month reach out to your landlord. A good timeframe would be about 10 prior to your due date.
Being honest and explaining your situation will help to keep you in good graces with your landlord.
CDC Eviction Ban
Another reason you should speak with your landlord in advance is that the CDC eviction protections require it.
Current eviction protections require you to:
- Speak to your landlord about your situation and let them know that you are having trouble paying rent.
- Show that you have made an effort to obtain rental assistance. You can prove your efforts by referring to the Houston nonprofits that you have called about financial assistance.
- Print, sign, and deliver this CDC Declaration form to your landlord.
Despite the CDC eviction protections, you can still be evicted for any of the following conditions:
- Committing a crime on the premises
- Threatening someone on the premises
- Damaging property
- Violating the terms of your lease agreement. This does not refer to the late payments of rent.
Landlords Cannot Evict You
It should be mentioned that your landlord cannot personally remove you from your apartment. They must win an eviction lawsuit in court, to have you removed. The removal process is then carried out by a police officer who is acting upon a judge’s decision.
Many clients believe a notice to vacate signs means that they will be kicked out on that date. This is not true.
A notice to vacate signs simply means that if the rent is not paid by the date specified on the notice, then the landlord can send an eviction lawsuit to the courts.
Try and Work with Your Landlord
Despite the CDC eviction ban, you still want to try working with your landlord. Don’t flaunt the fact that there is an eviction ban, because it won’t last forever and you want to stay in good graces with your landlord.
It may be hard to look at the situation from your landlord’s perspective, but they are likely under intense pressure from their bank to make their mortgage payments as well. Attempting to work with your landlord may buy you more time to come up with this month’s rent or even prevent them from charging you with late fees.
In the event that you’ve tried to be cordial and honest with your landlord, but they are not willing to work with you the next section will provide you with local legal aid nonprofits who can talk to you about your tenant rights.
3. Seek Legal Assistance / Learn About Your Tenant Rights
While there are some landlords who are willing to work with you I have also heard stories of landlords not being so patient.
If your landlord has placed a notice to vacate sign on your door these are things that you can do to protect yourself from eviction.
Refer To The CDC Eviction Ban Requirements
Follow the instructions in the previous section which included:
- Letting your landlord know that you are struggling to pay your rent
- List the steps you’ve taken to try finding rental assistance. Include the Houston nonprofits that you have contacted, but are out of financial assistance funds. ,
- Lastly, provide them with the CDC Declaration Form (English, Spanish).
This alone should protect you from eviction but there have been landlords who preceded with efforts to evict despite these CDC guidelines. If your landlord is pushing for eviction the following legal assistance agencies can help you.
Houston Apartment Association
One place that you can turn to for assistance if you feel that your landlord has violated your tenant rights is the Houston Apartment Association.
This housing advocate specializes in settling disputes between landlords and tenants. The Houston Apartment Association can talk to you and provide guidance on what your legal rights are as a tenant.
Editor’s note: Houston Apartment Association can also help landlords to understand their rights and help with mediation when there is a disagreement with a tenant.
If your landlord has violated your tenant rights they could be subject to legal action which can include civil penalties, punitive damages, attorney’s fees, etc.
The Houston Apartment Association can listen to your situation and tell you if your landlord has violated your tenant rights and then provide you with options.
Lone Star Legal Aid
Lone Star Lega Aid is another resource to consult with if you have questions about your tenant rights.
This Houston legal assistance agency offers legal advice from volunteer lawyers.
You can even find a tool called Stop TX Eviction which will help you understand your tenant rights, the eviction process, and potentially help you to avoid losing your apartment or home if you cannot pay rent.
COVID-19 Lost Loved Ones Fund
If someone in your household passed away due to COVID-19 you could qualify for a program called the COVID-19 Lost Loved One Fund.
This program is managed by Memorial Assistance Ministries and those families that qualify could received up to $3500 in funds for the loss of their family member.
For more information about this program see our guided tiled How to apply for the COVID-19 Lost Loved One Fund.
With rental assistance being so scarce right now it’s a good idea to know what actions you can take to avoid an eviction during the pandemic.
If you cannot find rental assistance in Houston the steps you should take are:
- Asking your employer if they offer financial assistance like Families First Act funding or voluntary payments
- Speaking to your landlord about your situation
- Reaching out to legal assistance agencies in Houston if your landlord is not willing to work with you
Similar Articles That May Be of Interest To You:
- How To Find Free Legal Advice In Houston
- 8 Utility Assistance Programs In Houston
- How To Find Rent and Utility Assistance In Houston
Nick Bryant is a Counselor with 11 years of experience working in community health. He enjoys concerts, walks with the doggo and wife, mocking Dallas Cowboy fans, and sharing community resources. Jump on the Houston Case Managers email list to receive weekly community resource guides delivered directly to your inbox.