Austin households impacted by COVID-19 can now apply for $2K in city financial help

AUSTIN (KXAN) — Starting Monday, Austin and Travis County residents who need financial help during the COVID-19 pandemic can apply for the second round of relief funding through the City of Austin.

Individuals selected through this application process can receive up to $2,000 per household.

A total of $10 million in Relief in a State of Emergency (RISE) funds are available through the city in what the city is calling RISE 2.0.

Austin Public Health expects the dollars from RISE 2.0 to help out 4,500 households.

How to apply

From September 14 to 21 at 7 p.m., Austin and Travis County residents can apply for this funding through an online portal in English and Spanish. Residents can also apply through a phone bank (which has more language options available) by dialing (512) 714-6950.

Who can apply

In order to be eligible for this funding, applicants must:

  • Be at or below 200% of the Federal Poverty Level
  • Be a resident of Austin or Travis County
  • Be 18 years of age or older
  • Be experiencing a hardship related to COVID-19
  • Have not received other financial assistance in the past 30 days
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How the funds will be given out

If you applied online and were selected for the funding, you can receive the funding through a direct ACH bank transfer, a virtual prepaid card sent through email, or a mailed prepaid card.

Those who chose the bank transfer option will get their money sooner. If you applied through the phone bank and got selected, you will get your funding through a prepaid card distributed by El Buen Samaritano.

Dollars going to individuals

The city already distributed $15 million RISE dollars in a first round of funding during May and June. But those dollars went to 20 nonprofits and social services, who in turn passed the dollars on to community members in need. Most of the funds sent to those 20 beneficiaries in the first round of RISE funding have already been exhausted, the city said in a release last week.

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Instead of going to social services agencies, RISE 2.0 funding will go to people who apply and are chosen through a randomized selection process.

A phone bank to answer questions about RISE 2.0 was launched last week and will remain open through October 2. That phone bank can be reached at (512) 714-6950.

Between September 23 and October 6, the city says a randomized selection process will be carried out and residents will be notified who is being given the relief funding.

Between September 23 and October 30, the city says the funds will be given out.

In early June, Austin City Council approved the $10 million for RISE 2.0. Around $1 million of those dollars will be paid to two third-party organizations, El Buen Samaritano and Family Independence Initiative, who were chosen to handle the distribution process.

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“We want to remove barriers and make sure our community can easily access the services and finances we have available,” said Stephanie Hayden, Austin Public Health Director, in a release sent out last week.

For more information about RISE 2.0, people can visit the City of Austin.

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