Rental assistance comes to Austin, Travis County

Living in the shadow of the biggest college town in Texas is difficult when someone can barely afford the rent. A few programs have been focused on helping residents steer clear of unnecessary evictions, especially when all the tenant needs is a few hundred dollars to get through a short money crunch.

The local community centers for Travis County Social Services are well known for providing periodic utility assistance. Funding is also provided for rental assistance in situations where an eviction could be an unwelcome situation for both the family and the County.

Travis County is no stranger to the advantages of helping a family remain in their home. Studies have found that the costs of temporarily housing and then rehoming a family are substantially higher than what it often takes to help a tenant stay in their current home. This proactive approach to eviction prevention is what is ultimately reducing homelessness by aiding those who only need a temporary helping hand.

Local residents who are at risk of an eviction should consider contacting the closest community center to evaluate their options. An eviction notice is not required to seek assistance. Each social worker will conduct an interview with an applicant to determine the seriousness of the situation. Ultimately they want to match the available aid with those recipients who can best remain in their homes on a permanent basis.

Travis County Community Centers:

  • Austin: Palm Square, 100 N IH 35, Ste 2000. Call 512-854-4120.
  • Austin: Post Road, 2201 Post Road, Ste 101. Call 512-854-9130.
  • Del Valle: 3518 FM 973 S. Call 512-854-1520.
  • Jonestown: 18649 FM 1431, Ste 6A. Call 512-854-1500.
  • Manor: 600 W. Carrie Manor St. Call 512-854-1550.
  • Oak Hill: 8656 W. Hwy 71. Call 512-854-2130.
  • Pflugerville: 15822 Foothill Farm Loop. Call 512-854-1543.

Beyond the resources provided by the county, charity funding helps to bridge the gaps between public sources. Applicants will find that they are expected to seek public assistance through social services first, before requesting aid through the generous organizations that have limited coffers.

All Saints Episcopal Church takes a more permanent approach to helping curb homelessness. They build houses through Habitat for Humanity. This long-term solution matches residents who might never own their own home with an opportunity to participate in the construction. Food and temporary assistance can be arranged. Information is available by calling 512-476-3589.

St. Vincent de Paul is a national aid organization that seeks to reduce homelessness by providing rental aid through St. Mary Cathedral and in other parishes. Anyone from the parish may contact the church on East 10th Street to see what can be done. The financial assistance is expected to assist for a short time in cases where someone can reasonably afford to continue living in their home. Residents may apply for aid after calling 512-476-6182.

Residents should understand that this is not a complete list. Sometimes the first step is meeting with an aid provider to determine the seriousness of your situation.

Volunteers and social workers often report that applicants tend to wait too long before requesting assistance. They insist that while not all applicants receive cash to cover late rent payments, a high percentage find out that they are candidates for one or more type of aid that can help get them through the next 30 days.

Referrals are often made to additional aid organizations who can contribute support to a struggling mother, single adult or family who cannot make ends meet. By meeting with someone at one of the local offices above, additional referrals are likely to be made.