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I-Team: Relief Money Slow To Reach Desperate Texas Renters Facing Eviction

DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) - While millions of dollars are still available for Texas renters impacted by the pandemic, the money is often not making it into the hands of those who need it -- desperately.

Michael Collins of Dallas applied with the Texas Rent Relief program back in June.

More than three months later, he said he is still waiting for his application to be processed.

Last week, Collins was served with an eviction notice. A judge then ordered him to be out of his one-bedroom Dallas apartment by Thursday.

"I'm out of time," he said. "I've already packed up most of my stuff but I'm still trying to figure out where I'm going to go."

The Texas Rent Relief program, run by the Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs (TDHCA), received 1.1 billion dollars in federal funds to assist with renters impacted by the pandemic.

The program has already helped more than 136,000 households statewide but still has more than $300 million in funding left.

TDHCA officials said they are taking additional steps to speed up application processing times.

Right now, the processing time from application submission to payment is an average of about 62 days for regular applications and 32 days for applicants faced with eviction.

A TDHCA spokesperson said application delays are often the result of missing documentation that the renter has failed to turn in.

Collins said a few weeks after he applied in June, he was told he needed to submit additional information. He said he did but his application was still marked as "unresponsive."

"Once it was changed to "unresponsive", it was like my application just got lost in the system," he explained.

After trying to get answers from Texas Rent Relief program, Collins reached out to the CBS 11 I-Team.

When I-Team reached out to the state's department of housing, officials said Collin's application is now under review.

Despite the eviction order, the manager at Collin's apartment complex said he could stay an extra few days now that his application is currently being reviewed.

TDHCA urges landlords to allow for the completion of the application process in order to receive payment from Texas Rent Relief program but only if they don't evict.

Click here to apply for rent relief.

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