Assistance for both renters and owners of rental property will now be available in Bell County.

The county has contracted with Hill Country Community Action to manage the county’s COVID-19 Emergency Rental Assistance Program that will make used of $10.9 million in CARES Act money received from the federal government.

The program offers aid to both landlords and tenants, who, due to the pandemic, are struggling to pay for rent and utility bills.

To be eligible, a household must have an income that is at or below 80% of the Area Median Income which for households in Bell County, that means a maximum income of between $36,250 and $68,350, depending on the number of people in the household.

Additionally, one or more members of the household must have either qualified for unemployment benefits or have experienced a reduction in income or financial hardship because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Finally, households must also demonstrate that they are at risk of homelessness, unsafe living conditions, or housing instability. This can be shown by providing either an eviction notice or a past-due utility or rent notice. The program can only assist with eligible bills that were incurred after March 12, 2020.

“We will be prioritizing households that have incomes below 50% of the Area Median Income, households that have been approved for unemployment in the previous 90 days, or households that are currently in the evictions process,” Ashley Johnson, Hill Country Community Action’s Director of Finance and Administration, said

Instructions and links to apply can be found on the Hill Country Community Action website.

They have offices in both Temple at 604 North 3rd Street and in Killeen at 304 Priest Drive.

For assistance applying, interested Bell County residents can call 254-870-9986 for more information.