The City of McAllen is seeking applicants for rental assistance for McAllen residents who have fallen behind on their monthly payment, due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The program is designed to help residents who are already behind and have received an eviction notice; whose household income is 80 percent below the area median income; are not currently receiving rental assistance due to COVID-19 impact from any other agency; and rental assistance cannot exceed $779 a month. Additionally, the program is also open to landlords to apply to seek relief from lost rent due to the pandemic. Thanks to a grant award from the Texas Department of Housing & Community Affairs, McAllen renters are now eligible for assistance through the Texas Emergency Rental Assistance Program. The award of $439,775.03, should be able to assist approximately 80-plus families for six months of rental assistance.
“We are grateful to the State of Texas for providing this award so that we may help residents in our community who have been impacted in one way or another by COVID-19 and it has affected their ability to pay their rent,” said McAllen Mayor Jim Darling. “We hope that this rental assistance program will help our McAllen residents get back on track as we continue to navigate through the hardships caused by the pandemic.”
In addition to the Texas Emergency Rental Assistance Program (TERAP), the Texas Eviction Diversion Program (TEDP) helps eligible Texas residents who have been sued for eviction or tenants struggling to pay their rent. Assistance can be used to pay the full contracted rent within the limits noted below and within the written guidelines of the administrator, for at least one month of rental payments going forward and up to five months of arrears. Any rental payments going forward must be for consecutive months.
Residents interested in applying must fill out an application online at www.mcallen.net/rentalassistance and provide all required documentation. Only completed applications will be considered for assistance. Documents required include:
- Personal identification or other method of I.D., such as a utility bill, voter registration form or school registration form;
- Copy of the executed or signed lease or if no written lease, required certification proving tenancy;
- Income: evidence of eligibility under other qualified program or income evidence for past 30 days;
- Tenant application and certification forms completed.
Residents will be required to certify:
Proof of tenancy: If no valid and effectual written lease, resident must certify lease term, rent amount and ability to provide proof of tenancy, such as through a utility bill or cancelled check or money order.
No duplication of benefits: Residents must not have received rental assistance for the same months of rent and will not seek such assistance in the future for the covered months and have not received rental assistance funded with CARES funds that, together with this assistance, will exceed six months in total;
COVID-19 impact: The household has been economically impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, including lost job, reduced hours, medical expenses or other such instances.
The rental assistance is also available to landlords, to help tenants catch up on their rent. Assistance is available for rent no older than April 2020. The contract rent for the household may not exceed the TDHCA maximum limit for the McAllen zip code. Units that are already receiving project-based assistance or are public housing units are ineligible, while units that are owned by a unit of government may be ineligible.
Residents are considered eligible and need no other income documentation, if they can prove that 1.) household is of six or less members and is currently receiving assistance under SNAP, LIHEAP or SSI for the head or co-head of household, OR 2.) resident is living in a rent-restricted property and have evidence of an income certification form that properly dated on or before April 1, 2020, but within 12 months of the TERAP application. In some circumstances, the TERAP administrator may allow self-certification of income, but the tenant must still be able to demonstrate evidence upon request.
Documents needed for landlords to be eligible to apply include:
- Completed IRS W-9 form;
- Copy of the executed lease with the tenant or if no written lease, required certification proving tenancy and ability to provide proof of tenancy, such as a cancelled check or money order;
- Documentation of missed payments, such as a ledger; and
- Landlord form completed.
Landlords will be required to certify:
Proof of tenancy: If no valid and effectual written lease, landlord must certify lease term, rent amount and ability to provide proof of tenancy.
No duplication of benefits: Landlords have not received rental assistance for the same months of rent for the client and will not apply in the future. Landlord will reimburse the TERAP within 10 business days if rental payment is received for the same time period.
Non-eviction: Landlord will release the tenant from payment liability for this time period, waive all claims raised if there is currently an eviction case and not evict the tenant for the period covered by the TERAP.
Fees forgiveness: Landlord will waive late fees and penalties and not pass court fees to the tenant.
For questions on what is a qualifying COVID-19 impact, or for any other information related to the process, please send an email to the City of McAllen Grant Administration Department at firstname.lastname@example.org or call (956) 681-1030. In consideration of social distancing, online or virtual requests and submissions are encouraged.
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