Austin, TX – The City of Austin and the Housing Authority of the City of Austin (HACA) today announce the 2021 Relief of Emergency Needs for Tenants (RENT) Assistance Program has successfully deployed all available $35 million of local and federal rental relief funding to over 8,298 Austin households facing financial pressures as a result of the global pandemic. The RENT application portal is temporarily deactivated until more funding is available.

“Paying your rent may have been hard even before the pandemic, and the conditions over the past year quickly escalated the need for help,” said Housing and Planning Assistant Director Cupid Alexander. “With HACA’s partnership, we were able to react quickly to a growing need and create a program that distributed over $65 million dollars of rental assistance to over 17,000 Austin families — helping them avoid eviction and stay safe during the pandemic.”

By November 10, 2021, the City and HACA had allocated all of the Emergency Rental Assistance (ERA2) Program funds granted by the Department of the Treasury. The federal funding infusion provided:

  • $35,365,968.46 in rental assistance;
  • To 8,298 unduplicated families (including 2,306 recertification);
  • For a total of 26,678 months of rent paid;
  • With an average of $4,261.99 per HH;
  • For 3.91 months of rent, on average; and
  • An average monthly rent of $1,062.34.

On October 14, 2021, the Austin City Council voted to allocate $6.7 million in City of Austin General Reserve Funds for rental assistance. As of today, both federal and local funds available for rental assistance have been allocated with staff currently working to identify a new funding source.

HACA was first selected by the City of Austin’s Housing and Planning Department to help with the distribution of COVID-related rental assistance in April 2020. The current iteration of the RENT program represents the fourth round of COVID-related rental assistance administered by the duo for low-income families with each version improving upon the last with community input.

Texas Housers, an independent non-profit, analyzed all of the Emergency Rental Assistance (ERA) programs in Texas and awarded the City of Austin RENT Assistance Program with a grade of A. That score reflected the program’s ability to quickly and equitably get the funds to the households most in need.


The Future of the RENT Program

With many Austin families still facing financial hardship as a result of COVID-related income losses, City and HACA staff intend to continue to refine program guidelines and identify renewed funding sources, however, estimates to when the program would be brought back online remain unknown.

“We’ve seen a continued need for rental assistance from Austin families,” said Community Displacement Officer Nefertitti Jackmon. “We’ve received over 16,000 applications for rental assistance since March 15, 2021. The Department of Treasury is currently accepting applications for future allocations, and we hope to be considered for that funding.”

Persons in need of rental assistance can sign-up to be immediately notified if additional funding becomes available and the application portal is re-opened.

For renters seeking assistance, call 2-1-1.

For further information on the RENT program, including complete program results data, visit: AustinTexas.gov/RENT.
About Housing and Planning Department

The Housing and Planning Department provides resources related to planning, zoning, housing, and community development to enhance the quality of life of all Austinites. Equitable, efficient, and comprehensive planning with displacement prevention as a prioritized focus is the Department’s core charge in delivering housing services to the community.