By Steve Pickett

DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – The Dallas City Council approved a multi-million dollar short-term financial assistance program for residents who need help paying rent and/or mortgages, due to economic impacts, caused by Covid-19-related actions that resulted in a residents’ loss of employment compensation.

In a unanimous vote early Wednesday, council members approved the Covid-19 Tenant Based Rental Assistance Program.

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Under the program, the city will use $6.1 million in federal grants and local funds to finance rent and mortgage payments for low to moderate income residents. Under the plan, landlords would receive direct payments from the City.

“There is a vulnerable population, that is going to be impacted by circumstances that couldn’t be avoided, and I think it’s important that we do what we can to keep them (residents)in their homes”, Adam Bazaldua, District 7 Councilman said Wednesday.

Bazaldua said 80% of residents in his district, including parts of South and East Dallas, live in rental properties.

Sixty percent of all Dallas residents rent or lease apartments, duplexes, townhomes or houses. With thousands of residents facing job layoffs or prohibited from working due to “Stay at Home” orders, city analysts say residents will face possible eviction and removal for lack of payment.

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The Rental Assistance plan will offer financial help for rent rates that max at $1500 a month. An applicant must be at or below 80% of area median income.

The city is also seeking ordinances that prohibit tenant evictions for next 60 days, if a tenant’s inability to pay is tied to Covid-19 related job or finance loss.

The city has also proposed other tenant protection plans that would cost a total of $13.7 million.

Residents seeking access to relief funds may be able to apply for funds in May.

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