Funding is available for Smith County residents for rental payments, utility payments, and household internet expenses, where applicable. 

To participate in the Smith County Emergency Rental Assistance Program, applicants must meet the following criteria:

  1. Must be a resident of Smith County
  2. A member of the household must have a valid government issued photo ID
  3. Must have a financial hardship that was directly tied to the COVID-19 pandemic (i.e. job loss due to closure of business due to COVID-19; layoff due to COVID-19, etc.). The County’s program will make the final determination if your impact was due to COVID-19.
  4. Eligible tenants are those with household income at or below 80% of the local Area MedianIncome level.
  5. One or more individuals within the household can demonstrate a risk of experiencing homelessness or housing instability.
  6. Eligible tenants must not have received assistance from another government agency, non-profit or private provider for the month of assistance provided or to be provided. Assistance received from another government agency (including the State’s ERAP program), non-profit or private provider shall not be for rental or utility assistance or duplicate the benefit to be received from Smith County for the same month of assistance.
  7. Must have documentation supporting the need for rental and/or utility assistance is due to the impact or hardship created by COVID-19.
    1. Job/employment loss after March 1, 2020 (i.e. provide the most recent TWC statement or statement from the employer on letterhead), or
    2. Other income loss with documentation (i.e. verified stipend loss, child support, etc.), or
    3. For determining annual income amount, applicants should provide documents evidencing annual income (e.g. wage statement, interest statement, unemployment compensation statement) or a copy of 2020 Form 1040 as filed with the IRS for the household.
    4. For determining monthly income, applicants must provide income source documentation, as listed above, for at least the two months prior to the submission of the application for assistance. If an applicant qualifies based on monthly income, the County must re-determine the household income eligibility every three months for the duration of assistance.

The County will provide preference to High Priority Households by restricting the application process to only High Priority households for the first three weeks of the application program. Prior to the end of the first three weeks, County staff will determine if the priority period should be extended beyond the minimum of three weeks based on application volume. 

Applicants may be deemed “High Priority Households” if they document they meet one of the following:

  1. Household income is below 50% of Area Median Income (AMI) for Smith County; or
  2. At least one household member (as listed on the lease) is currently unemployed and has been unemployed for at least the ninety days prior to the date of application completion.

All household members ages 18 and older must provide current income. Income can be substantiated using one of the following documents: 

  1. 1040 Tax Return for 2020; 
  2. 1040 Tax Return transcript for 2020; 
  3. IRS Form 8879 for 2020; 
  4. Two consecutive months of check stubs (must be consecutive and current); 
  5. Form W-2 Wage statement for 2020; 
  6. Pension statement; 
  7. Retirement statement; or 
  8. Monthly social security administration statements (SSI received for a child does not count as income).

If eligible, this assistance can pay rent/utilities owed as far back as March 13, 2020. It can also pay 3 months of future rent/utilities if the tenant is determined to still be financially unstable due to COVID-19 impact. To apply, visit https://pathrenthelp.org/.  

If you or someone you know requires help to apply for this aid, you may apply for free legal help with us by visiting www.LoneStarLegal.org and clicking on the red box that says APPLY HERE.  If you do not have access to a computer or prefer to apply by phone, you can dial 1-800-733-8394. 

Lone Star Legal Aid is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit law firm focused on advocacy on behalf of low-income and underserved populations. Lone Star Legal Aid serves millions of people at 125% of federal poverty guidelines that reside in 72 counties in the eastern and Gulf Coast regions of Texas, and 4 counties of southwest Arkansas. Lone Star Legal Aid focuses its resources on maintaining, enhancing, and protecting income and economic stability; preserving housing; improving outcomes for children; establishing and sustaining family safety and stability, health and well‐being; and assisting populations with special vulnerabilities, like those who have disabilities, or who are elderly, homeless, or have limited English language skills. To learn more about Lone Star Legal Aid, visit our website at http://www.lonestarlegal.org.

Contact: media@lonestarlegal.org