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Dallas City Council approves $13.7 million for rent relief

Programs will provide rental, mortgage and utility assistance for residents affected by COVID-19.

The Dallas City Council on Wednesday approved $13.7 million in relief to help pay rent, mortgages and utilities for most residents who earn less than the median income in North Texas.

"We expect to help thousands of Dallas residents to stay in their homes," Dallas Mayor Eric Johnson said.

Many people have lost jobs, taken pay cuts or have been furloughed during shutdowns caused by the coronavirus pandemic. 

"I understand that times are tough right now," the mayor said. "COVID-19 has hit us all very hard." 

The Dallas rental assistance program will be available for low- and moderate-income renters and landlords to access beginning in early May.

The short-term mortgage and rental program will provide up to three months of payments for persons at or below 80% of the area median income.

According to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, the median income in the Dallas-Fort Worth area is $83,100.

Under the program, a family of four would be eligible for assistance if the household income is $66,500 or below.  

The income requirements vary based on the number of people living in a home. For example, a person living alone could earn up to $46,550 and qualify.

The same 80% criteria would also apply for low- and moderate-income families to receive up to 24 months of rental assistance.

Another portion of the program would allow for six months of rental assistance for individuals at or below 50% of the area median income. According to city data, that would allow a person earning $29,100 and below to qualify for assistance.

Councilmember Adam Bazaldua said an estimated 60% of Dallas residents are renters. He added the rental rate for his district, which covers parts of south and east Dallas, is as high as 80%.

"There is a vulnerable population that is going to be impacted due to circumstances that they could not have avoided," Bazaldua said. "So I think it’s important for us to do what we can to keep them in their homes.”

The program relies on tenants requesting the relief by applying with the City but the financial assistance would be directly paid to the landlord.

The City says it plans to start accepting applications on May 4.

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