At this time the Housing and Planning Division, in partnership with the town housing authority, will launch a revamped model of RENT, the Reduction of Emergency Wants for Tenants Help Program.
Nefertitti Jackmon, the town’s housing and coverage planning supervisor, introduced to Metropolis Council’s Housing and Planning Committee on March 11, giving efficiency overviews of the older and the up to date iterations of this system, RENT 2.0 and RENT 3.0.
“Too many households in Austin are struggling to pay their lease due to a job loss, lack of work hours or one other impression from the Covid-19 pandemic,” mentioned Michael Gerber, president and CEO of the Housing Authority of the Metropolis of Austin.
The latest iteration of RENT, which opens for purposes immediately, March 15, will present $25 million in direct help for eligible tenants in Austin.
“We’re completely happy to announce we acquired $29 million in funding from the U.S. Treasury Division,” Jackmon mentioned, referring to the federal Emergency Rental Help Program.
Eligible tenants could apply to this system through an online portal from March by December. Funds will probably be issued on to landlords.
The eligibility necessities stay a lot the identical between the 2 variations, however RENT 3.0 has added racial fairness initiatives and extra advantages. Within the earlier iteration of RENT, households may obtain as much as six months of full or contracted lease funds, whereas the brand new iteration will present as much as 15 months of help.
To be able to qualify, a family should meet plenty of standards, together with making 80 p.c or much less of the realm median household revenue and experiencing a Covid-19-related revenue loss.
Between August 2020 and February 2021, a complete of $15,437,463 in lease help was paid out to over 4,800 households. The median quantity of help was $1,098.
The ZIP code receiving nearly all of help was 78741, which amounted to 11.56 p.c of the overall quantity of help. It was carefully adopted by 78753 at 9.56 p.c. Breaking down recipients by race, 38.4 p.c recognized as Latinx, whereas 28.3 p.c and 18.9 p.c recognized as white and African American, respectively.
“The overwhelming majority of households served – there have been over 2,000 households – had been simply households of 1. The overwhelming majority had been additionally female-headed households,” Jackmon mentioned.
Roughly 3,100 households receiving help had been headed by ladies, whereas round 1,680 assisted households had been headed by males.
“One of many issues we need to do is proceed to satisfy with companions to verify we’re in a position to present a program that’s attentive to the distinctive wants of the households and households inside Austin. We met with plenty of metropolis leaders and neighborhood companions, and we had been in a position to tweak this system, enhancing it with every iteration,” Jackmon mentioned, spotlighting fairness targets for this system.
Fairness targets for this system embrace making it simpler for tenants to use, offering the general public extra demographic knowledge to extend transparency, and prioritizing households that make 30 p.c of the realm median revenue.
“We’re focusing on three precedence populations: households at 30 p.c AMI, individuals who’ve been unemployed within the final 90 days, and individuals who’ve skilled or are experiencing homelessness,” Jackmon mentioned.
She additionally famous this system’s back-rent fee function, which permits as much as 12 months of again fee for tenants who’ve fallen behind on their lease.
The Austin Monitor’s work is made potential by donations from the neighborhood. Although our reporting covers donors infrequently, we’re cautious to maintain enterprise and editorial efforts separate whereas sustaining transparency. An entire listing of donors is on the market here, and our code of ethics is defined here.