Tenants can apply for Houston-Harris County Emergency Rental Assistance Program

A new rental assistance program in Houston and Harris County will start accepting applications from renters on Thursday.

Earlier this month, Harris County and the City of Houston voted to offer a combined $159 million in rent and utilities assistances to local families impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

RELATED: Harris County, City of Houston offering $159M combined rental aid

The Houston-Harris County Emergency Rental Assistance Program will provide relief for past-due rent, some past-due utilities, as well as some future rent payments.

The program is available for renters in the city or the county who have household income at or below 80% of HUD Area Median Family Income, who are experiencing housing instability or are at risk of homelessness, and have experienced financial hardship as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

RELATED: Harris County event offers free legal aid for renters facing eviction

Priority for assistance will be given to households with income at or below 50% of HUD Area Median Family Income or which include an individual who has been unemployed for 90 days or more. Within those prioritized categories, households will be selected at random and not on a first-come, first-served basis.

The application for landlords opened earlier this month. Renters who want to apply for the program should find their landlord in the Participation Directory. Official say residents whose landlords are not enrolled should encourage them to register at houstonharrishelp.org/landlords.

To apply for the program or learn more about eligibility and required documents, visit https://houstonharrishelp.org/

Those who need help with the application can call the hotline at (832)402-7568. Call center hours are 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday, and 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday.

The funds will be distributed by BakerRipley and Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston.

RELATED: Application open for Texas Rent Relief Program