CARES Act funding still available to families

Published on August 12, 2020

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The Neighborhood Services Department encourages Fort Worth families to apply for CARES Act funding that helps with housing and other household expenses caused by hardships related to COVID-19.

Families who are unable to pay rent, mortgage or utility payments or need help paying for groceries and medicine may be eligible for assistance from the Coronavirus Relief Fund.

Amanda Garrett, assistant manager at Silver Leaf Villas on John T. White Road, has helped more than a dozen of her tenants gather paperwork and fill out forms. “It’s totally worth it,” she said about the time invested.

So far, CARES Act funds have paid three months’ rent for three Silver Leaf families, helped an elderly widow with utility payments through the end of the year and covered the cost of groceries for a military veteran.

“Some residents maybe are not computer savvy or speak little English,” Garrett says. “Others think that because they work, they won’t qualify. I tell them, don’t disqualify yourself! This program is here to help all of us.”

Applicants must live in the City of Fort Worth and provide proof that hardship such as job loss, reduced wages, illness or other circumstances are related to the coronavirus pandemic. Applicants’ total household income must be at or below 120% of the area median income.

Garrett has this advice for anyone struggling to pay bills during the pandemic:

  • Ask for help if you’re not comfortable with online applications. A family member or your property manager can help.
  • Be patient. The process takes time, but is worth the effort.
  • Contact City of Fort Worth Neighborhood Services if you have questions. “They make it so easy!” Garrett said.

Learn more about income requirements, watch a video on how to fill out the application and then apply online. To learn more, call Neighborhood Services at 817-392-5720.

Garrett urges other property managers to tell residents about available funding and help them complete applications. “We put up fliers around the property, and our maintenance workers and staff spread the word,” she said. “By helping our residents, we don’t have to evict, which is exponentially more expensive. Plus, it’s the right thing to do.”

If a family is not eligible for these funds, Neighborhood Services staff may make referrals to other agencies that offer relevant services and resources.