Dallas works to fast-track $18 million in aid to renters, homeowners, businesses affected by COVID-19

The city of Dallas is working to make millions of dollars available to help people who can't pay their rent or mortgage and struggling businesses due to the COVID-19 crisis.

The city is working to fast track a plan to get more than $18 million into the hands of residents and businesses by beginning an application process as soon as May 1.

“There is going to be a great amount of interest,” said councilman Casey Thomas. “Want to make sure we have the bandwidth.”

Dallas city council members met by video conference On Tuesday to work out the logistics of how to best allocate the government funding.

Councilwoman Paula Blackmon asked the city’s housing director if the money was available to anyone regardless of immigration status, citing Dallas’ high immigrant population.

“One reason taking particular interest in propping up non-profit program is they have different requirements than municipalities when it comes to serving immigrants,” said David Noguera, Dallas Housing Director.

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$13 million would be used for rental or mortgage assistance. Only those earning less than $44,000 per year would qualify and the money would go directly to landlords or lenders. Homes would also have to pass a HUD inspection.

“Inspectors will wear gloves, they wear facemasks,” Noguera said.

The funding available for the rental and mortgage assistance program is expected to be able to help 1,000 Dallas residents for three months.        

Daniel Roby, CEO of the Austin Street Center, says the assistance will be critical due to the record unemployment numbers.

“When you are in crisis, everything is harder. When you are homeless everything is harder, need to avoid people falling into homelessness in the first place,” Roby said.

He is expecting to see a tidal wave of homelessness in the coming weeks.

“Financial hardship, plus crisis, minus inadequate social supports is what makes homelessness,” Roby said.

$5 million will be available to help businesses facing hardship.

Under the proposal, businesses would be able to apply for $10,000 dollar grants or $50,000 loans.

“I think it is important we are supporting business owners who are residents of Dallas and hiring Dallas residents,” said councilman Lee Kleinman.

The full city council will discuss the plan Wednesday, with a vote set for the following week.

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