Janie’s Story

Janie was able to apply for rent relief while taking care of both her immediate and extended family and suffering from COVID herself. The issue she has been confronted with is the Texas Rent Relief agents has not been meeting her effort level.

My name is Janie and I am a 63 years old single mom on disability, with an autistic child of 8 years old. I am a recent cancer survivor and Covid survivor. God made the path for me to also take care of my great nephew. With the pandemic and winter freeze issues we have had in Texas, I got behind on rent. Unfortunately, there are many of us who slipped through the cracks when it comes to receiving rental relief we were promised during COVID-19. 

I applied in February of 2021 for Rent and Utility Assistance and Texas Rent Relief. If we apply for assistance, it means we need financial help. We all can’t afford computers or the internet. I have struggled to send PDF documents through my little phone. At first, I submitted my documents and application, but then I was informed to re-register in their new system, so I had to resubmit documents. Since then, I have spoken almost daily to TRR’s customer service. Every day I check my status. It said I was “Unresponsive,” even though I speak with TRR every day and have a record of my calls and emails with them.

When I finally heard from customer service, they said there was a glitch in the system, which was the reason I was marked “Unresponsive” and received an application denial. They admitted it was a mistake on their side, but they requested another copy of my lease. Then, they wanted me to submit my Electric Disconnection notice for utility help, and every time they say there are no issues, yet it’s still being reviewed. Finally today, I found out I have a caseworker, but it’s been four months since I first applied, and every day I am afraid that my landlord will serve me an eviction notice.

I wish that it was easier to communicate with my caseworker by phone or email, or that I could have better communication with my caseworker. I also think it would be helpful to have frequent system updates, so that we can see some progress and know what’s going on with our applications (like, Stage 1, Stage 2, etc).  I wish that the customer service agents were more educated so applicants have an idea of what is really going on and get them done faster.

I am in desperate need of help. If I were the one not following through with Texas Rent Relief agents, I could understand the slow process. But I am working hard at providing documents and doing everything asked of me. But I have had sleepless nights. I am thankful they are still considering my application, but I fear they are not moving fast enough for my landlord, who also has bills to pay.