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Texas still has hundreds of millions of dollars available for homeowners who've struggled in the pandemic

A special fund has more available than it has given out to date.

DALLAS — Texas still has unspent federal COVID money. In fact, one program, Texas Homeowner Assistance, has hundreds of millions of dollars still available.

That’s more money still left than the program has given out to date.

So far, Harris County homeowners have gotten more money from this program than homeowners in any other county: $55,737,270 as of this writing. 

Now, Gov. Greg Abbott is encouraging all Texans who qualify for the funding to apply for it. 

If COVID somehow caused you to be a struggling homeowner (and that includes homes, condos, duplexes and manufactured homes), you can get help paying for past due property taxes and property insurance.

You can also get assistance for some past and future mortgage payments, as well as past and future utility bills. That includes electricity, natural gas, propane, water and wastewater. 

You must meet income requirements, which differ from county to county. But the site run by the state walks you through all of that so you can check. Just go to the site and click "Do I Qualify" and answer the questions. You can also click to apply on the same site.

Those who qualify can get up to $65,000 of bill payment help per household. Additional information about the program can be found here.

There’s a separate utility assistance program that helps renters, but that one only covers water and wastewater bills for those who qualify. Here is a comparison of the programs.

While we’re here a viewer asked, "How long are you going to hold on to my money?"

Ok, she wasn’t actually asking us, she was referring to the City of Dallas. She wondered if it was right for Dallas Water Utilities to still be holding on to the deposit she had to pay to start her service years ago.

She wrote, "I have been in my home over 20 years and feel that a deposit should be refunded." We took that to the city, and it turns out they agree with her. 

The city says you can get your deposit back if you meet certain conditions, but you must call to request the refund. 

Here is what the City of Dallas says:

A customer may request their deposit be refunded if they meet the following conditions: 

  • The customer has been receiving service for 12 continuous months.
  • The customer has acquired a satisfactory credit history with the department.
  • The customer has not made payment during the past 12 months with a payment device returned due to insufficient funds.
  • The customer has no delinquent bills outstanding.

To request a refund on an account, customers may call us Monday through Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. at 214-651-1441.

If you have a different water utility, they may also permit deposit returns with certain conditions. Give them a call.

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