Applications for Rent Relief Lottery Open Tomorrow

City will distribute $12.9 million in direct aid to renters

Calling all renters who have lost income because of COVID-19: The city wants to pay your rent. No, really. Starting Wednesday, August 19 at 8am, applications will open for a lottery rent relief program, with $12.9 million available in direct aid to struggling renters.

Anyone within Austin’s “full purpose city limits” who’s lost income due to COVID-19 and earns under 80% of Austin’s medium family income (MFI) is eligible to apply for a Relief of Emergency Needs for Tenants (RENT) grant. That means $54,700 is the eligibility cutoff for one person, while four-person households must make less than $78,100 annually to qualify. (Full income guides are here.) No social security or identification number is required to apply, although any household member who has a number is asked to provide it.

Qualified applicants, who cannot be taking advantage of any “federal rental assistance programs.” will be selected at random for the program, which pays up to three months worth of rent to the tenant’s landlord, depending on the income of the applicant. If applicants make 30% or less of Austin’s MFI ($20,550 for one person, or $29,300 for four people) they’re eligible for three months of rental aid. If they make between 30% and 80% they’re eligible for one month of aid.

The RENT program comes less than a month after Mayor Steve Adler prohibited landlords from posting notices of vacancy except in select circumstances, in an order which runs through the end of September. This aid program will continue until January 2021, or until funding runs out. It is also offering grants to community organizations to raise awareness about this program, support tenants, and work to prevent evictions.

For more information and to apply for a RENT grant, visit

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