There's a housing crisis in certain areas of Houston, TX and Harris County. A lot of families have not recovered from events that happened during the pandemic but thankfully a few families will be receiving some help thanks to a new program being launched that will help them with guaranteed income.

Its Called The Uplift Harris Program

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According to KPRC, under the program, up to 1,500 families living below 200% of the federal poverty line, which is approximately $40,000 for a family of four, will receive $500 per month to support their household needs. Uplift Harris will run for 18 months, beginning this fall. It will be administered by a third-party agency and subjected to rigorous evaluation.

The program is set to begin in September.

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The program is aimed at helping low-income residents with rent, food costs, and other issues. The initiative is a guaranteed income program, and officials are hoping it will reduce poverty. Uplift Harris would also help people with transportation, housing, utilities, and care.

Similar programs have been launched in 45 cities across the country, including Austin, which has seen positive results so far.

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According to a study by the Urban Institute, before the program was brought to Austin, 80% of families said they could not afford food. After six months of being in the program, the number dropped to 68%.

The Austin study also found:

  •  77% of families in Austin said they couldn’t afford to serve balanced meals to their children. After six months of being a part of the program, that number dropped to 62%.
  •  55% of families in Austin said they were behind on their rent before starting the program, and after six months, that number dropped to 33%.

Could This Program Come To East Texas?

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Its unknown right now if a program like will come to East Texas but its up to individual cities and counties. Smith County is estimated to receive $45 million, in ARPA funds to be encumbered by the end of 2024 and to be completely spent by the end of 2026.

So far, they've only allocated money for water and sewer projects, emergency vehicles, hospital funding and other things including:

  • Wright City Water Supply Company’s request for $600,000 for two water filtration systems to bring the water quality in the area up to TCEQ standards and to serve the growing community. It is in the southern portion of Smith County.
  • Star Mountain Water Supply’s request for $1.263 million for a water well and water plant for expansion in service for new development and/or planned development in the area. It serves the Starrville community in the north eastern portion of the County.
  • City of Lindale’s request for $897,325, for a lift station, force main, and related improvements for its Business Park on Interstate 20 to open up commercial and residential development in and around that area in north western Smith County.
  • Allocating $820,000 for the Smith County Purchasing Director to upfit 39 public safety vehicles with required law enforcement equipment, such as lights, bumpers, IT equipment and radios. The vehicles were also purchased with ARPA funds. They are for the Sheriff’s Office, Fire Marshal’s Office and Constables Offices.
  • The Children’s Advocacy Center of Smith County’s request for $500,000 to be used to help renovate a 9,800-square-foot facility to provide mental health therapy and trauma-informed strategies to affect long-term healing for abused children and their families, caregivers and community partners. Smith County’s ARPA funding will be used specifically to renovate the new facility’s mental health wing used for child therapy.
  • Allocating $130,000 in ARPA funding for CAMP V, a nonprofit, to construct/renovate a space for the Smith County Veteran Services Office. Smith County has had an employee out at Camp V since it opened, and plans to move the entire office to the facility to make it easier for its veteran customers. Camp V serves as a one-stop resource center for veterans and their families in Tyler.
  • Allocating $90,000 of ARPA funding to be used by the Smith County IT Department for the purchase of additional software licenses for security control monitoring to enhance the security for the county.

For more details on how Smith County is using its ARPA funds CLICK HERE.

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