Fort Bend County Emergency Rental Assistance Program

Fort Bend County Emergency Rental Assistance (ERA) Program Launches February 17th

We will begin accepting applications for rental assistance on Wednesday, February 15th.

The CARES ACT has allocated additional funding to assist households that are unable to pay rent and utilities due to the COVID-19 pandemic. A portion of these funds have been allocated to Fort Bend County. The County has established a new ERA program, in compliance with federal, state and local guidelines, to provide assistance to eligible households through this new rental assistance program.

If you are a Fort Bend County resident and meet income eligibility requirements, you are encouraged to apply for this program. The ERA Program will provide rent and/or utility assistance for up to twelve (12) months, or until funds are exhausted. This a NEW program, therefore you must apply to be considered.

Eligibility

An “eligible household” is defined as a renter household in which at least one or more individuals meets the following criteria:

  1. Qualifies for unemployment or has experienced a reduction in household income, incurred significant costs, or experienced a financial hardship due to COVID-19;
  2. Demonstrates a risk of experiencing homelessness or housing instability; and
  3. Has a household income at or below 80 percent of the area median.

Rental assistance provided to an eligible household should not be duplicative of any other federally funded rental assistance provided to such household.

Eligible households that include an individual who has been unemployed for the 90 days prior to application for assistance and households with income at or below 50 percent of the area median are to be prioritized for assistance.

Household income is determined as either the household’s total income for calendar year 2020 or the household’s monthly income at the time of application. For household incomes determined using the latter method, income eligibility must be re-determined every 3 months.

HOW TO APPLY

  1. First, contact your landlord and have them enroll in the Landlord Portal for the ERA Program located on the Fort Bend County webpage
  2. Second, prepare your documents to upload into the online portal (system).
    • Valid, active and signed lease agreement;
    • For EVERY household member, 18 years of age or older:
    • Texas Workforce Commission (TWC) recent statement of unemployment benefits; or signed letter from employer of layoff on company letterhead;
    • Copy of Form 1040 for 2019 and 2020 as filed with the IRS for the household; and/or a wage statements or check stubs for the prior two (2) months;
  3. Third, follow the instructions below to start the online application.

To apply, click the link here. Applicants that enrolled previously and/or received assistance in the original Cares Program will have to reapply for this assistance. Click here to find out what you need to qualify for rental assistance.

Starting the week of February 15th, landlords and renters can submit an application online at the link above. If you or a family member DO NOT have access to a computer or the Internet, you may contact the program call center at 281-238-CARE (281-238-2273). However, using the website is the most efficient and effective way to enroll in the program. The COVID-19 Emergency Rental and Utility Assistance program will be open for applicants to apply on February 17th at 8:00am.

If an applicant is deemed ineligible the County will reevaluate the case for accuracy and provide references for assistance. This may include seeking funding from alternative resources, such as nonprofit organizations and other community partners, that may be able to offer financial assistance.

Landlords and Renters will benefit from the following:

  • Direct rent payment to the landlord for eligible renters and households.
  • Direct payment to utility providers for eligible renters and households
  • Access to case managers to resolve issues or assist with applications.
  • 24-hour system access to update information, upload documents and check status of your application.

We encourage your participation in this Emergency Rental Assistance Program to help Fort Bend County residents remain in safe households during this COVID-19 pandemic.

LANDLORDS

We ask that you assist your renters by applying through the Landlord Portal and answer a few questions and provide a few documents. Also you must:

  • Be in good standing with the County and State of Texas;
  • Provide a valid and complete W9;
  • Provide an accurate and current detailed rent roll or roster of tenants eligible for the program;
  • Agree to accept rent payment directly from the County, and charge no penalties, late fees or any other consequential fees; and
  • Agree to refrain from initiating any eviction process for the month(s) the tenant has applied for assistance or to rescind any such process that is underway.

Thank you for helping the residents of Fort Bend County get through this COVID-19 Pandemic.