DALLAS — If you're a young adult between the ages of 18 and 26 who has aged out of foster care, we've got some great news: You have free federal money waiting for you.
WFAA spoke with one former foster child who says this money can't come soon enough.
Hallie Andrews faced a big fear today.
"I just decided to grow up and do it. It's an irrational fear to have," she said.
Hallie picked up a tennis racket, even though she's afraid of sports equipment. When she was in fifth grade during a game of dodgeball, some kids hurt her for being a foster child.
"They ganged up on me and cornered me and threw balls at me till I was crying," she said.
After being in foster care most of her life, Hallie aged out of care in 2017.
"Hell. That's pretty much what it was. Whole bunch of abuse and neglect. They just gave us shelter and that was it. No love."
Now 23, Hallie is confronting new hardships brought on by the pandemic.
"I thought I was going to lose my apartment at one point. I lost my job. I lost my health. I lost a lot of family," she said.
But there's help.
Right now, any young adults who are 18 through 26 and have aged out of the foster care system in Texas are eligible to receive up to $1,000 in federal money. It's called the Young Adult Pandemic Aid, or Pan-Aid.
"I really encourage you to take this opportunity to go to the website and fill out this application. This Money is for you. It is to support your needs to better your life. You deserve this," said Megan Ransom with the Texas Alliance for Child and Family Services.
Ransom is urging young adults who aged out of foster care to visit TACFS.org to apply NOW if they qualify.
She's also asking community organizations to sign up to help get these young adults their checks and then mentor them.
"On top of this funding we are hoping these youth and young adults to get connected with a community organization. The organization within their community that can offer them ongoing support," she said.
"I went through hell but now I'm happy and I'm a survivor," said Hallie.
The ball's now in her court, and she's not letting free money pass her by.
"Oh yea I'm excited. That's two months of rent!"
The deadline to apply is Sept. 15.