Dallas City Council provides COVID-19 relief
Dallas, Texas – The Dallas City Council took swift action to provide COVID-19 relief to city of Dallas residents on Wednesday, April 22, 2020. Council voted on items providing up to $18.4 million which resulted from the two new Ad Hoc COVID-19 Committees. In addition to providing rental assistance and small business relief, a majority of council members also supported measures preventing eviction.
The Mortgage and Rental Assistance program passed by Council will offer $6.1 million in rental and mortgage aid. Combined with services and programs that already exist within the city, $13.7 million is available. Assistance will provide up to $1,500 for a maximum of three months per eligible household. To qualify for the pre-screening process, applicants must be City of Dallas residents who lost their jobs or were furloughed due to COVID-19. The Mortgage and Rental Assistance program is a collaboration between the Office of Community Care and the Office of Housing and Neighborhood Revitalization. The program is expected to open during the first week of May.
“COVID-19 has created an unprecedented challenge for our economy, putting a strain on many of Dallas’ working families and small business owners, all of whom are struggling just to make ends meet,” said Dr. Eric Anthony Johnson, Chief of Economic Development and Housing and Neighborhood Revitalization. “We are invested in the City of Dallas, its residents, and businesses, and remain committed to the recovery long-term. While this stimulus support will not eliminate all of the hurdles that lie ahead, we hope it will provide some relief for those affected most by this pandemic.”
Small Business Relief
The Office of Economic Development is launching a $5 million Small Business Continuity Fund. The fund will provide up to $10,000 in grants and up to $50,000 in low-cost loans to small businesses affected by COVID-19. The businesses must be able to prove they were in operation for a minimum of six months prior to March 16, 2020. Additionally, they must be low to moderate income (LMI) microbusiness owners and/or businesses that employ (or previously employed) at least 51% LMI workers. The goal of the fund is to ensure continued operations of small businesses and job retention by those businesses. The application is expected to go live in May for grants and loans to begin in June.
“We want to send a message to every business owner in Dallas that we are concerned and we will put our money where our mouth is,” said District 3 Council Member Casey Thomas, II, Ad Hoc COVID-19 Committee Economic Recovery and Assistance Chair.
Disaster Declaration Extension
The Dallas City Council approved to extend the local disaster declaration until May 12, 2020 and automatically extend as needed to align with Texas Governor Greg Abbott’s Declaration of a State of Disaster throughout Texas.
Please note, this does not extend or change current Shelter in Place: Stay home, stay safe orders.
COVID Landlord-Tenant Notice Ordinance
The Dallas City Council also approved the COVID Landlord-Tenant Notice Ordinance as a response to COVID-19. The ordinance requires residential landlords to issue a “COVID Notice of Possible Eviction” that provides tenants information on rental assistance and allows tenants at least 21 days to negotiate lease payment agreements with landlords. Additionally, if tenants provide proof of financial hardship due to COVID-19, then the proposed ordinance enables tenants to receive up to 60 days prior to facing a Notice to Vacate. The City’s notice ordinance takes effect immediately.
“Thanks to the input of external stakeholders and the transparent and comprehensive Committee review process, today we passed balanced policies that provide needed relief for our neighbors,” said Deputy Mayor Pro Tem Adam McGough, who chairs the COVID-19 Ad Hoc Committee on Human Recovery and Social Assistance. “While this action is a step to mitigate the impact of COVID-19 on our communities, it is just that, a step. Much work remains to be done as we pave the way towards long-term recovery.”
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