200 Smith County families receive aid through Emergency Rental Assistance Program

Local News

SMITH COUNTY, Texas (KETK)- The Smith County Commissioners Court announced that 276 families have received funds through the Smith County Emergency Rental Assistance Program.

People Attempting to Help (PATH) has coordinated the efforts to assist residents, according to county officials.

The county initially received $7,032,829 from the U.S. Treasury for rental and utility assistance for people who were impacted by COVID-19.

“I deeply appreciate our partnership with PATH as they help both landlords and tenants through administration of the Federal Emergency Rental Assistance Program,” Smith County Judge Nathaniel Moran said. “They expeditiously stood up this program for us a few months ago, and have been working hard since then to provide personal attention to those in Smith County who are in need of rental assistance.”

$1.26 million has been used to help families pay their rent from March 2020 and three months of their future rent. 92 landlords also were able to receive some of the rent that was owed to them.

The federal funds were also used to help 155 families with $136,816 for utilities.

“It’s been quite a herculean task for our staff of five,” said Richardson with PATH.

Richardson also mentioned he is grateful for Justice of the Peace Precinct 1 Quincy Beavers, Justice of the Peace Precinct 2 Andy Dunklin, and all of the JPs in Smith County for assisting the organization. Judges Beavers and Dunklin preside over eviction cases.

Richardson said without the funding, the homeless population in Smith County would have exploded.

Judge Dunklin also agreed with this statement.

He mentioned that the state’s rental assistance program is more complicated than the county’s.

Andrea Wilson, PATH’s Executive Director, said with the funding they are able to say “yes” to a lot more people who come to them requesting rental and utility assistance, wrote Smith County.

Commissioner Neal Franklin also had a positive reaction to the work that PATH has been doing.

“I’m happy we can say ‘yes’ to more families,” he said.

PATH is responsible for tenant application processing while Smith County will be responsible for the funding. Smith County will also pay PATH 5% from the $7 million to help administer the program, added Smith County.

“We want to make sure that every dollar allocated locally by the federal government goes to meet a local need,” Judge Moran said. “And, we applaud PATH’s leadership in making this happen.”

Qualifying applications must meet annual income limits, must have been impacted by COVID-19 and have housing instability. Applicants will be required to provide necessary documentation to PATH for eligibility. For more information, visit here.

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