Tarrant County helping renters get federal assistance ahead of deadline

A December deadline is approaching for renters to get federal assistance.

While people may not know where to go or who to ask for help, a Tarrant County employee is taking help to people who need it.

“I woke up this morning literally to an email saying hey if you need assistance, you need help come on down to the office,” said renter Christin White.

Tenants like White face hardships due to COVID-19 and are now closer to CARES Act funding to help out.

“I would call landlords and say hey instead of evicting, why don’t you let us pay the rents, we could pay back rent and people can move forward,” said Valerie Alvarez, Tarrant County.

Alvarez helps oversee the rental assistance program, which has a looming deadline to put the federal money to use.

She says a high number of online applications were getting rejected and she pushed for a “boots on the ground” approach at complexes like the Presslee Apartment Community in Arlington.

“On a really good day with a lot of tenants, we can help 35, 40 folks get to where they can move onto the next step and that’s a pretty good amount,” Alvarez said.

Tarrant County’s application deadline is December 9. Part of the program is to dispel misinformation about the likelihood of evictions during the pandemic.

“After January 1, if they still have a balance they can be evicted again. So we’re really trying to keep people in their homes and prevent homelessness,” said Kristen Camareno, Tarrant County Mobility Administrator.

People getting the help appreciated the assistance.

“To know there was someone actually out here that really cared for the people to do it, I was very enthused by it,” said renter Shontrell Russau.