November 10, the Williamson County Commissioners Court approved an agreement with Hill Country Community Ministries to join three other non-profits in providing rent and utility assistance to residents in need due to COVID-19 through the Wilco Forward Phase III program.
Terms of agreement were already in place between Williamson County and The Caring Place, The Salvation Army, and the Round Rock Serving Center. Hill Country Community Ministries will service Cedar Park, Leander, and all areas on the west side of Williamson County in coordination with the Salvation Army.
These agencies will be reimbursed by the County for rent assistance and/or utility assistance provided to residents across Williamson County between March 1 through December 30, for a total of up to $5 million from federal CARES Act funds. The County will monitor the total amount of funds spent to date so that the Phase III budget is not exceeded.
“I am thankful to add Hill Country Community Ministries to the list of organizations that will process applications for rent and utility assistance for the cities on the west side of Williamson County. Residents on the west side of the county now have the ability to seek assistance from an organization closer to home,” says Precinct 3 Commissioner Valerie Covey. “This addition does not change any of the currently existing serving areas, but rather augments our ability to help those in need of support because of the pandemic.”
All four agencies will follow the criteria below to assess eligibility:
· All residences assisted must be located in Williamson County
· Up to the rent amount based on the lease agreement plus late fees for up to a total of 3 months
· For approved applications, the applicant must request additional funds after the first month of assistance on an as needed basis
· Up to $1,500 of utility assistance per residence on an as needed basis
· Applicant must show evidence that the assistance is needed due to issues caused by COVID-19.
Each agency will handle the application and vetting process in their service areas, along with the issuing of the checks directly to the landlord, property management company, or utility company. The following are the service areas for each entity.
• Round Rock Area Serving Center: Round Rock, Austin (within Williamson County), Brushy Creek/Fern Bluff MUD, Hutto areas outside of Georgetown ISD
• The Caring Place: Georgetown, Andice, Bartlett, Florence, Granger, Jarrell, Jonah, Schwertner, Walburg, Weir, Hutto areas within Georgetown ISD
• The Salvation Army: Cedar Park, Coupland, Leander, Liberty Hill, Taylor, Thrall, and all other areas of Williamson County not served by the other two agencies
• Hill Country Community Ministries: Cedar Park, Leander, all other areas on the west side of the county.
Residents will have to reach out directly to the agency serving their city to be able to request financial assistance. Apply online with the Round Rock Area Serving Center, the Caring Place, and the Salvation Army. To apply with Hill Country Community Ministries, call the main office 512-259-0360 x300 or email [email protected]