City of San Marcos Utility Assistance Program (COVID-19 & Winter Storm)
The City of San Marcos has initiated a utility assistance program to provide funds for utility customers with past due balances due to financial impacts from the COVID-19 pandemic or the February Winter Storm. The program will aid qualified customers by paying the amount due on their utility account up to a maximum of $1,500. Customers are eligible for assistance if they have a residential utility account with a balance that has been past due for more than 60 days. The funds are limited and will be provided on a first-come, first-served basis.
In order to apply for utility assistance, please complete the application by visiting the program page. Online submissions will be emailed directly to Utility Billing and are available in both English and Spanish. The application lists the assistance guidelines and documents required for submission.
The utility assistance program is designed to provide an opportunity for our residents to receive the help they need to move past their current financial hardships and begin again with a clean slate. Please complete the application as soon as possible in order to take advantage of this funding opportunity. You may contact Utility Customer Service staff at 512-393-8383 or by email with additional questions.
COVID-19 Rent, Mortgage, Utility Assistance Program
A total of $567,825 in Community Development Block Grant-Coronavirus Response (CDBG-CV) funding was allocated by the San Marcos City Council to the assistance program including program design and administration.
Funding for the program is available through a partnership between the City, Community Action, Inc. of Central Texas, and Blanco River Regional Recovery Team (BR3T) to help individuals and families navigating financial hardships caused by the pandemic. Assistance is available until all program funding has been exhausted.
Eligible residents may receive up to three months of mortgage, rent, and utility assistance. Applicants requesting funds must:
- Live within the San Marcos city limits
- Have a past-due utility, rent, or eviction notice OR certify that if you do not receive rental assistance, you or anyone in your household would need to move into an unsafe or unhealthy living environment, like a shared living situation or emergency shelter
- Certify no duplicate assistance is being received for the same months
- Applicant or anyone in the household must have experienced at least one of these financial impacts related to COVID-19:
- Reduction/loss of income
- Increased expenses
- Qualified for unemployment benefits
Household income must be at or below 80% of the Area Median Income for the Austin-Round Rock Metropolitan Statistical Area. For example, the eligible income level for a four-person household is $79,100.
Hays County Emergency Rental Assistance Program
Hays County Commissioners Court recently approved the implementation of a COVID-19 Emergency Rental Assistance Program (ERA). This program may help with rental, utility and late fee assistance for applicants who have had difficulty paying rent due to the COVID-19 pandemic and who meet the program criteria. For more information visit the Hays County Emergency Rental Assistance Program website.
FHA COVID-19 Forbearance
What are FHA loans?
Some home loans are insured by HUD's Federal Housing Administration, your mortgage servicer must follow FHA guidelines when working with these loans. Not sure if your loan is insured by FHA? You can find this information on your mortgage statement or you can call FHA Resource Center at 1-800-225-5342 or email HUD FHA Resource Center.
We understand that many homeowners may be struggling and unable to make mortgage-payments due to the COVID-19 pandemic. If you or someone you know are one of the many FHA-borrowers having difficulty paying your mortgage due to the pandemic, we urge you to act now. FHA's special COVID-19 mortgage payment forbearance is currently available to FHA-insured borrowers. If you have a reverse mortgage, also known as a Home Equity Conversion Mortgage, you should contact your mortgage servicer for options available to you.
You are eligible for FHA's COVID-19 forbearance (mortgage relief) if:
- Your mortgage is insured by the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) or,
- You can't make your payments because you were affected by COVID-19.
If you have not requested FHA COVID-19 forbearance then you can request up to 6 months of forbearance initially and an additional 6 months if you need it. You must request this assistance from your mortgage servicer.
If you started FHA COVID-19 forbearance on or before June 30, 2020 and need an extension then you are eligible for up to two more 3-month extensions from your mortgage servicer after completing 12 months of COVID-19 forbearance.
You are not alone during these difficult times. The COVID-19 mortgage payment forbearance is available now so please seek assistance to obtain this option. For more information on this program, visit hud.gov.
Texas Rent Relief Program
The Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs (TDHCA) received approximately $1.3 billion in Emergency Rental Assistance funds from the newly passed Coronavirus Relief Bill Rental Assistance Program. TDHCA is using the funds to help Texas renters pay rent and utility bills including past due bills.
Texas Rent Relief Program can help cover renters with the following costs starting as far back as March 13, 2020:
- Past due, current, and up to 3 months of expected rent costs.
- Past due, current, or up to 3 months of expected utility and home energy expenses.
- After the initial 3 months of forwarding assistance, you can apply for 3 additional months of assistance if funds are still available.
Landlord applications are available and can be completed on behalf of tenants. Tenant applications are available and require the Landlord to participate in the application process. TDHCA will accept applications from both landlords and tenants beginning Feb. 15, 2021. Funds will be distributed directly to landlords or utility providers. If funds are not accepted by the landlord or utility provider, they will be redirected to tenants 21 days after rejection.
Assistance to complete an application is available by calling 1-833-989-7368 from Monday through Saturday starting 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. For more information visit Texas Rent Relief.
CDC Guidance on Face Masks
The CDC says that fully vaccinated people can resume activities without wearing a mask or physically distancing, except where required by federal, state, local, tribal, or territorial laws, rules, and regulations, including local business and workplace guidance.
The CDC recommends that people wear masks in public settings, at events and gatherings, and anywhere they will be around other people. Effective February 2, 2021, masks are required on planes, buses, trains, and other forms of public transportation traveling into, within, or out of the United States and in U.S. transportation hubs such as airports and stations.
Additional Resources for San Marcos Residents
Resources and information are available for San Marcos residents affected by COVID-19. We’ll post links below as they become available during this rapidly-changing situation. Click here for information for tenants and landlords and utility, rent, and mortgage assistance options at a glance.
The City has published a request for proposal with a deadline of January 11, 2021 seeking a non-profit to run a rent/mortgage/utility assistance program for which we have $450,000. We expect to award the funding on January 19, 2021 to a non-profit or a coalition, and have a program up and running in late February 2021 or early March 2021.
Veterans programs may be able to provide rent and utility assistance now to qualifying veterans.
Crisis Counseling and Mental Health Hotlines
Texans Recovering Together COVID-19 mental health support line: 1-888-690-0799
Texas 2-1-1: Dial 2-1-1 to connect with resources offered by Texas Health and Human Services.
Hill Country MHDD Crisis Hotline: 1-877-466-0660
Texas Health and Human Services has launched a 24/7 statewide mental health support line to help Texans experiencing anxiety, stress or emotional challenges due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Visit Texas Health and Human Services for more information.
Doing Business with the City Remotely
Many important tasks, such as paying utility bills, can be handled online. The City’s Utility Payment Services Department has implemented changes to its normal processes to assist customers. Read more here.
COVID-19 Funeral Assistance
The application period for COVID-19 Funeral Assistance begins on Monday, April 12, 2021. You must apply over the phone at 844-864-6333 on or after April 12th. FEMA will not accept online applications.
If you intend to apply for this assistance, you should gather the necessary documentation before you apply. Refer to COVID-19 Funeral Assistance for more information.
If you would like to volunteer your services and time, visit the National Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster . For information about COVID-19 vaccines, visit the Center for Disease Control and Prevention's (CDC) COVID-19 Vaccines or dial 2-1-1 for the United Way or visit 211.org.
Hays County Food Bank
Hays County Food Bank will be offering drive-thru pick up service. Some important reminders: please don’t attend a distribution if you are sick. The Food Bank offices are closed to the public and all nutrition classes are canceled until the end of April. Please call to schedule a donation drop-off, 512-392-8300. Check their social media and website for updates and helpful information.
Central Texas WIC
For the latest resources and information on the Central Texas WIC Program, including temporary and permanent changes to WIC-approved foods, follow their Facebook page.
Texas Department of Health and Human Services
Texas Health and Human Services has multiple resources available to people who qualify. For more information visit their website.
Workforce Solutions Rural Capital Area
Visit the Workforce Solutions website for employers, workers, labor issues and unemployment benefits.
San Marcos CISD Remote Learning
For more information visit the San Marcos CISD Remote Learning website.
Texas State University Information
Information for Texas State University students, faculty and staff is posted on the Texas State University website.
San Marcos Public Library Resource Guide
The San Marcos Public Library has created a COVID-19 Resource Guide for our community. In it you can find important updates and information about health, school closures, food resources, local agencies and organizations, and volunteer opportunities.
Virtual Recreation Center
It is your place for recreation, leisure, education, and resources through COVID-19. We are committed to ensuring that our community has resources to maintain healthy and meaningful lives. Check out the Parks and Recreation Dept.'s Virtual Recreation Center.
Your Money: A Hub for Help during the Coronavirus Crisis (from NY Times)
Find info about IRS/taxes, Housing/evictions and Unemployment, plus much more on the NY Times website.
United Way of Hays and Caldwell Counties
United Way of Hays and Caldwell Counties has reinstated their disaster relief fund to assist those affected by the COVID-19 virus, particularly economically, in Hays and Caldwell counties. They are working with their partners to distribute these funds directly to those in need throughout Hays and Caldwell Counties in the coming days, weeks and months. There is not currently a process for the public to apply for these funds. United Way asks that members of the public be patient as they raise the critical dollars to assist as many of our community members as they can.
If you would like to help your neighbors in need, please visit the United Way of Hays County website and follow the link to donate. Donations can also be made by simply texting UWHAYS DISASTER to 313131 and following the instructions in the reply text. Those wishing to donate by check can do so by sending your donation to UWHC, PO BOX 1728, San Marcos, TX 78667. Please be sure to write “Disaster Relief Fund” on your check to ensure that your donation goes directly to those in need.