DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – This week, for many struggling Texans, has been a crisis within crisis.

The winter hit Texas at a time when many are already financially on the brink due to the pandemic.

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While millions of Texans struggle just to stay warm, an unforeseen expense due to the frigid temperatures could be financially disastrous for many.

There is help.

“It’s definitely not a time you want to be worried about your electric bill or your rent,” said Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs Executive Director Bobby Wilkinson.

This week, the TDHCA began accepting applications for the largest statewide COVID-19 rent and utility relief program.

The Texas Rent Relief Program has $1.3 billion to help Texas renters pay for up to three months of rent and utilities.

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Funds from the program can be used to pay past due rent and utilities as well as future expenses.

To qualify, households must have an income at or below 80% of the Area Median Income (AMI).

In Dallas County, for a family of four, that works out to an income of $68,950 or less.

Also, to qualify, at least one tenant household member must have qualified for unemployment benefits this past year or have experienced a reduction in income due to the pandemic.

“The need is great and it’s climbing,” said Wilkinson. “This program covers shelter and energy so it is going to allow people to stay in their homes, get them caught up on their electric bill, and help them in the future as well.”

To apply, go to texasrentrelief.com or call 1-833-9TX-RENT.

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All applications received before February 28 will be prioritized with households with incomes below 50% Area Median Income and households with members currently unemployed being processed first.