Houston will send residents checks of up to $1,200 for pandemic relief

Houston will send residents checks of up to $1,200 for pandemic relief
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The city of Houston is preparing to send out checks for up to $1,200 to some of its residents as part of a new relief program by the local government.

The city is planning to open a $30 million direct assistance fund, according to the Houston Chronicle. The fund would be similar to one created by Harris County last month to assist up to 23,750 families. The city is also seeking to add $10 million to its small-business relief program.

“People can utilize that on whatever — utility, rent, you name it,” said Houston Mayor Sylvester TurnerSylvester TurnerAfrican American Mayors Association says they'll coordinate with White House, others to take in Afghans Texas lt. governor faces backlash after claiming unvaccinated African Americans responsible for COVID-19 surge Climate Mayors are building back better — now Congress must act MORE (D). “We’re doing everything we can with the dollars we’ve been given to try to meet those needs or people where they are.”


BakerRipley, a community nonprofit, will be in charge of distributing the funds, according to the newspaper, having previously distributed funds for the mayor’s rent relief program.

The eligibility requirements and applications are not yet ready, but Ben Melson, chief of staff to Houston recovery czar Marvin Odum, said they hope to have them finalized by the end of the week.

According to Melson, 25,000 Houston residents did not receive assistance from the county’s program after applying, and the city is hoping to address their needs with its own program.

The money comes from a $405 million fund derived from the CARES Act. About $28.5 million has been assigned to the direct assistance program as well as $1.5 million to BakerRipley to operate the program.

The newspaper notes that the money must be spent by the end of the year, though many cities, including Houston, have asked for deadline extensions. The total amount given will be determined by how quickly the city can direct the funds before the end-of-year deadline.

On Tuesday, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellBiden says he's open to altering, eliminating filibuster to advance voting rights Pelosi says GOP senators 'voted to aid and abet' voter suppression for blocking revised elections bill Manchin insists he hasn't threatened to leave Democrats MORE (R-Ky.) said any future coronavirus relief bills would be tied to the year-end omnibus spending bill, which Senate Republicans will insist on being of limited size.

Earlier in the day, a bipartisan group of senators and House members unveiled a $908 billion COVID-19 relief proposal.