According to a recent Politico story, Texas is being recognized for its success in distributing rental assistance in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. The story says the Biden administration is touting the State’s ability to quickly get assistance to those who need it. As of the end of July, the Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs has distributed more than $616 million dollars – totaling roughly 47 percent of the money it received from the Federal government — more than any other state in the Nation. Comparatively, states like New York have only distributed a mere $2.6 million of the $801 million it received. Only two states, Wyoming and South Carolina, are behind New York.
National Low Income Housing Coalition President and CEO Diane Yentel applauds Texas administrators’ ability and willingness to learn and adapt to shortcomings in design and implementation to correct the course and improve.
Politico reached out to the Texas Affiliation of Affordable Housing Providers (TAAHP) to get some insight into the differences between Texas and other states. TAAHP President Chris Akbari of The ITEX Group said “Initially when they cranked it up, there were some challenges,” citing early technical glitches. “But they stayed engaged and they expanded the pool of technology vendors. It’s amazing to see how much more advanced Texas’ program is than in other states,” Akbari said. “It’s just been a very good, coordinated effort, so that everybody knows how and what to do, when to apply, how the process works. Other states, it’s just not as clear.”
Politico also highlighted the efforts of some of Texas’ major counties and cities such as Harris County and the City of San Antonio who have done a good job of using data to target communities most vulnerable.