Harris County at COVID-19 threat level ‘Red,’ hospitals face strain from Delta
Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo speaks at NRG Park, April 11, 2020. AP Photo by David J. Phillip.

Harris County residents can now apply for $1,500 in direct relief for emergency expenses due to the financial stress of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Harris County’s recovery assistance program, which began Wednesday and runs through Sunday, is a $30 million fund approved by Harris County Commissioners Court earlier this summer.

It provides a one-time $1,500 payment to households within Harris County that can demonstrate “economic hardship incurred during the COVID-19 pandemic,” with at least one member of the household either enrolled in a public assistance program, or with total household income at or below 60% of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Area Median Family Income.

HUD (via Harris County/Catholic Charities)

2021 Data on Household Average Median Family Income (HAMFI) from the US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD)

Harris County residents who apply do not need to have had COVID-19 in order to be eligible.

Applicants are eligible regardless of immigration status, but at least one adult in the household must be a U.S. citizen, legal permanent resident, refugee, or other qualified noncitizen, according to the county.

Applications are limited to individual “family units.” If more than one family lives in a household, each can apply, according to the program’s website.

The money can be used for health care, rent, mortgage, utilities, food, internet, transportation, child care, and other emergency expenses.

Applications are selected at random and reviewed by Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston, which also processes the payments for applications approved by Dec. 30.

This is the second round of $30 million funding offered by Harris County. Applications for people who applied in the first round and weren’t chosen are still available for consideration.

Both programs were estimated to impact 20,000 families each, according to the county and Catholic Charities.