CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — With the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's eviction moratorium set to expire on July 31, Nueces County has begun a new program to help people pay their rent and utility bills if they're suffering financial hardships due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Safe and stable shelter is the cornerstone of all other basic needs," Nueces County Judge Barbara Canales said during a press conference announcing the program Thursday.
The Emergency Rental Assistance Program is available to all Nueces county residents who meet four criteria.
- First, you must live in Nueces county and pay rent for your home, apartment, or condominium. Canales said a program to help homeowners who are behind on their mortgages will come at a later date.
- Secondly, at least one member of your household must have suffered some kind of financial hardship because of the pandemic.
- The third criteria is showing proof that you're in danger of losing your home because of non-payment of rent.
- Finally, your household income must be at or below 80 percent of the area median income.
The criteria may be complicated for some, which is why the county is providing information in a variety of ways.
You can apply for assistance or get your questions answered by calling 361-724-3085 or by visiting the website.
You can also apply in person at the La Retama Library at 805 Comanche Street on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. or on Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
The federal program that's being administered by Nueces County and Corpus Christi has more than $10 million available for rental assistance and help paying utility and Internet service bills.
“We need to protect our most vulnerable, and that starts with keeping a roof over their heads,” Canales said.
Residents who we spoke to were supportive of the program.
“I think it’s good for the citizens to have that opportunity and good for the county to help them pay the rent,” Phyllis Herrington said.
Herrington isn't eligible for the program, because she did not suffer a pandemic-related financial hardship.
Had she though, she says she would likely take advantage of ERAP.
“If assistance is there, I would have to look into it," she said. "Yes, definitely.”