We continue to see serious short- and long-term consequences due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This includes individuals who become sick, as well as those who are affected by business and school closures, and prolonged periods of isolation. Many families lack the necessary savings to withstand an emergency or a sudden loss of wages, and they may experience unprecedented financial hardship. The uncertainty of the pandemic is also having an emotional and behavioral impact on many individuals and families. Use the links below to learn more about available resources and ways to receive help.
Assistance with Basic Needs
List of organizations that provide financial assistance with rent, mortgage or utilities, as well as basic needs like food, shelter, clothing.
Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston is assisting Harris County by administering a COVID-19 fund. Parishioners who are struggling with financial loss caused by the pandemic can apply for assistance through the Harris County COVID-19 Emergency Direct Assistance Program. Households are randomly selected from the pool of applicants. Anyone who fits eligibility requirements can apply here from November 2-6. The website has full details about the program. The application link will be posted starting November 2.
The program provides a one-time payment of $1,200 to eligible households in Harris County who are struggling due to economic loss from the pandemic. Funds may be used for several types of expenses, not just rent: such as healthcare, childcare, utilities, food, internet, or transportation. Applicants must be able to prove pandemic-related hardship (e.g., unpaid bills); and they must meet the required financial threshold (e.g. one member of their household must be enrolled in a public assistance program, or a total household income of less than 60% of the HUD Area Median Family Income).
BakerRipley will provide Rental Assistance to residential tenants who live within the City of Houston and/or Harris County and are experiencing an economic hardship as a result of COVID-19. Tenants may be eligible for up to $1,200 of rental assistance from the County or $2,112 of rental assistance from the City of Houston.
A Landlord can sign up as a Participating Landlord once they agree to the terms and conditions of the program(s). Landlords will be paid directly by BakerRipley on behalf of eligible Tenants. Landlord enrollment is intended for residential rental properties located within Harris County and/or the City of Houston.
Tenants will submit an application for rental assistance. The Tenant can only submit their application if their Landlord is a Participating Landlord. If Tenant is selected and qualifies for the program, their Landlord will be paid directly by BakerRipley.
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has issued a nation-wide moratorium on evictions beginning September 4, 2020 and ending December 31, 2020. This moratorium was issued in the interest of public health. Stopping evictions will prevent homelessness and crowding of temporary or communal living spaces, which may lead to greater spread of COVID19. Learn more HERE, through the City of Houston’s Housing Department, Texas Law Help, or Houston Volunteer Lawyers. Download this guide and checklist to help you through the process. Access the declaration form HERE.
At Lone Star Legal Aid renters can apply for legal assistance to help fight evictions now that the evictions clause in the CARES package has expired. Lone Star Legal Aid has created an online application process if you need help with your eviction. They also offer information about renters and workers’ rights.
MAM’s COVID-19 Response Plan helps families build a strategic plan to get through this crisis, provide the financial assistance to meet shortfalls and offer support to accomplish their goals now and in the future. Information and Referrals provide guidance on the actions families should take to address the crisis. MAM staff provides resources to address immediate needs. Those who qualify will be referred to different agencies. Families that meet MAM’s qualification criteria could receive Financial Assistance to maintain basic needs. Qualified families are those living within MAM’s 17 zip code service area and who have lost income due to the COVID-19 outbreak.
Stability Coaching is the pivotal, multifaceted program that helps those who have permanently lost their employment take action to build stability for the future. Employment Coaches help build new résumés and access skills to regain meaningful employment. Financial coaches teach families how to build and manage a household budget, build credit and other skills to lead them to financial self-sufficiency.
Mental health counselors are available to help families deal with stress and anxiety, which increase during times of uncertainty. Once immediate needs are addressed, the hope is to get families on the path from barely surviving to financial stability to thriving.
West Houston Assistance Ministries offers financial assistance interviews take place Monday through Thursday over the phone at 713.780.2727 extension 200 for zip codes 77042, 77057, 77063, 77077 and 77082. Food assistance for any zip code is done in a drive-thru model Monday-Friday, from 10:30 am until supplies last. You may receive food assistance once every 2 weeks, if needed. Employment Services are available to all zip codes. Click HERE for documentation and more details.
This program helps families and individuals in Harris County with payment of their electricity and gas bills. If you are interested in applying for assistance online, click HERE. To download the application, click HERE. To request an application via mail or email, contact the Utility Assistance Hotline at 713.590.2327 or the United Way of Greater Houston Helpline at 2-1-1 or 713.957.4357.
Chapelwood’s Year-Round Mana Program assists families that are referred through SBISD. Contact your child’s school’s counselor or social worker for a referral.
Offering temporary relief options for those unable to pay mortgage or rent,
the Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs receives “emergency solutions grants” which can help people who are homeless or at-risk of being homeless. The TDHCA redistributes those grants to city and/or county agencies. There are eligibility requirements, and the process for a renter to get an emergency solutions grant can take 1-2 months. The providers listed on the Help for Texans section of their website may get funding through TDHCA or other resources. Contact them and apply for help.
The 211 Texas/United Way HELPLINE connects callers with critical health and human service programs such as:
Saturday, October 31, 9:00 to 10:30 am at Memorial Drive United Methodist Church. 12955 Memorial Dr., 77079. Enter through the east parking lot and remain in your vehicle.
Catholic Charities offers services in a modified manner during the COVID-19 pandemic. The drive-through food distribution at the Guadalupe Center is by appointment only. You must complete an appointment request to schedule a time to receive food.
Open through drive-by model. Call 713.467.4363
11612 Memorial Drive, 77024. Every Saturday from 8:00 am to 11:30 am. Arrive at least 1 hour before the start time. Currently operating a drive thru mode. Bring a cellphone if you have one. Instructions will be provided.
Families with children in SBISD who need assistance are advised to contact their child’s school’s Communities In School program. SBISD Child Nutrition Services will continue Grab and Go Meals through the summer. Learn more here.
Financial Assistance and Advice
List of organizations that provide financial assistance with other bills, as well as advice with employment, personal finance, tax and insurance.
New customers may qualify to receive 60 days of complimentary Internet Essentials service, which is normally available to all qualified low-income households for $9.95/month. Click HERE for additional information.
Bank of America customers who need help making credit card and/or mortgage payments can submit an online request for a payment deferral.
Capital One customers’ options include minimum payment assistance, deferred payments on loans, and waived fees. Most banks and credit card companies are handling things on a case-by-case basis. Call to see what kind of assistance you may qualify for.
Check with your Credit Card/loan financial entity for more information.
Until September 30, there will be automatic payment suspensions for any student loan held by the federal government.
Auto loan payments may be deferred for up to 120 days with Ally Bank. No late fees charged, but finance charges will still accrue for non-lease accounts. You must log in to defer payments.
If your employment has been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, apply for benefits either online at Unemployment Benefit Services (UBS) or by calling the Texas Workforce Commission’s Tele-Center Center at 800.939.6631 from 8 am to 6 pm Central Time, Monday through Friday. You are encouraged to use the online claim portal to handle your claim needs quickly, and to sign up for Electronic Correspondence so you can receive your TWC communications online as soon as possible. Extended Benefits (EB) and Disaster Unemployment Assistance (DUA) are not available at this time.
Find helpful information and resources on how to remain financially healthy during this time of uncertainty.
Watch Dave Ramsey’s A Message of Hope for insightful information on how to face the financial crisis due to COVID-19
The Harris County Tax Office is providing a three-month extension of all 12-month delinquent property tax payment plans as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Property owners who are currently on 12-month property tax payment plans will not have to make payments for three months. Late fees will still be assessed.
Physical, Emotional and Behavioral Health
List of organizations that provide low cost medical assistance, emotional/behavioral health and important resources for seniors.
Spring Branch Community Health Center has 6 community health centers in the Spring Branch, West Houston, Katy, and Cy-Fair area as well as appointments via telemedicine. They offer affordable services that range from family medicine, women’s healthcare, pediatrics, dental care, back-to-school vaccinations, flu shots, and physicals. They accept Medicaid, CHIP, Medicare, and all private insurance. Call to make an appointment at 713.462.6565
WIC – Spring Branch Community Development Center is still operational. Call 713.500.2800 extension #3.
To be sure you or your family do not have to wait in a busy, crowded emergency center unless you really need to, call Ask My Nurse at 713-634-1110. Experienced nurses are available to help you and answer your questions 24/7.
Provided by the Texas Health & Human Services. If you or someone you know is feeling overwhelmed by the COVID-19 pandemic, help is available. Call the toll-free COVID-19 Mental Health Support Line at 833.986.1919.
A Crisis Counseling Program that offers free counseling, community outreach, local referrals and resources, linkage and psycho-education to individuals, families and communities impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Catholic Charities is accepting new clients with a wide range of mental health concerns, including but not limited to depression, anxiety, trauma, or grief. Clients will be assessed by the intake staff. Fees are based on a sliding scale. Call the intake line at 713.791.2496.
Provides free, confidential support 24/7. Text CRISIS to 741741 to be connected to a crisis counselor.
Contact them at 1-800-950-NAMI (6264), Monday through Friday from 10:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m. ET, email, or text NAMI to 741741. NAMI specializes in working with anyone with a mental health issue, including anxiety.
Matches individuals with a licensed mental health care provider who will talk over the phone or email. Fees range from $40 to $70 per week (billed monthly).
Shield Bearer Counseling Centers offer counseling sessions through tele-therapy. Call their main number: 281.894.7222. Leave a message and your call will be returned.
Call 800.985.5990 or text TALKWITHUS to 66745 for free.
Shares important ways to lessen anxiety secondary to COVID-19. Read more.
For additional resources, visit Houston Responds’ web page.