COVID-19 Assistance Programs and Resources
This is a list of resources available to assist those in need as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
We understand that your need for assistance is urgent so we want to make sure you are aware of the United Way’s 211 helpline which can connect you to organizations who are currently able to provide direct financial assistance and the COVID-19 rental assistance program offered by Baker Ripley.
United Way – Dial 211
Baker Ripley – www.houstonrentassistance.org | (713) 667-9400 ext. 1
LGBTQ+ COVID-19 Recovery Fund – On April 15, 2020 the Montrose Center began providing direct financial assistance to community members impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Direct financial assistance is primarily provided through paying bills such as rent, mortgage, utilities, and providing gift cards. Thanks to the generosity of many funding sources this fund is available to help support people living with HIV, undocumented immigrants, transgender individuals, and the LGBTQ+ community which are disproportionately impacted by economic disasters and often under-served by traditional disaster relief operations. Portions of this fund have been designated for people living with HIV, LGBTQ+ survivors of Domestic Violence and LGBTQ+ Veterans.
As part of this fund, the Center has funding from the CARES Act for Housing Opportunities for People with AIDS (HOPWA)*. Applicants must have experienced a hardship that places them at risk for loss of stable housing or utilities, as a result of the pandemic. There are three types of funding available:
PHP (Permanent Housing Placement) – First Month Rent and Deposit
TBRA (Tenant Based Rental Assistance) – Rental Subsidy
STRMU (Short Term Rental Mortgage Utility)
*The Center must receive a referral from a physician, case manager, or nurse practitioner to be considered for services.
Thanks to generous funding from the Texas Veterans Commission Fund for Veterans’ Assistance, the Montrose Center is providing direct financial assistance to veterans and/or their families who have been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Direct financial assistance is primarily provided through paying bills such as rent, mortgage, utilities, and providing gift cards. Apply for Assistance here.
Campaign for Southern Equality – The Campaign for Southern Equality has opened applications for LGBTQ people in the South to request aid. There is currently a waiting list. They are also offering grants of up to $500 to fund projects to meet the needs of LGBTQ Southerners in response to COVID-19.
Queer Writers of Color Relief Fund – This fund is for queer writers of color only, who are in need of financial assistance right now.
Black Lives Matter Gift Card Fund – Houston’s Black Live’s Matter chapter continues it’s work to help the community.
Black Youth Project: COVID-19 Writer and Artist Relief Fund – The Black Youth Project is a platform that highlights the voices and ideas of Black millennials. This is an opportunity for Black writers and artists.
Collaborative for Children – In partnership with the City of Houston, Harris County and other community partners, this organization matches essential workers with high-quality child care
CrowdSource Rescue – CrowdSource Rescue is a Houston-based disaster response non-profit organizing volunteers to help to do no-contact food deliveries to elderly Houston residents.
Cypress Assistance Ministries – The Cypress Assistance Ministries provides services and aid to zip codes 77065, 77095, 77429 and 77433.
Gallery Furniture – Gallery Furniture is providing care packages of toiletries and non-perishables for disabled and elderly persons. From 7 AM-8 PM, grab-and-go breakfast and lunches may be picked up for children and the elderly. Those that are able to are encouraged to volunteer!
GiveDirectly – GiveDirectly is the first nonprofit that lets donors like you send money directly to the world’s poorest. They’ve responded to COVID-19 by delivering cash to families impacted by COVID-19 in the U.S.
Houston Food Bank – The Houston Food Bank is continuing in its efforts to help keep the City of Houston from going hungry.
National Domestic Workers Alliance – The Coronavirus Care Fund (CCF) provides $400 in emergency assistance for qualifying home care workers, nannies and house cleaners who are experiencing financial hardship due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Pandemic-EBT (P-EBT) – P-EBT is a one-time benefit for families who have lost access to free or reduced-price meals because of closures related to COVID-19. This program is available for for children 5-18 years old who received SNAP food benefits for the month of March 2020 and children up to 21 years old who are certified for free or reduced-price meals through the National School Lunch Program at school in Texas during the 2019-20 school year.
Texas COVID-19 Electricity Relief Program – This program temporarily keeps retail electric providers from disconnecting electricity for customers who can’t pay their whole bill because of serious financial troubles caused by COVID-19.
Texas Diaper Bank – The Texas Diaper Bank is a nonprofit organization that keeps families healthy by providing diapers, baby essentials, senior incontinence items, food, and education.
Texas Workforce Commission – If your employment has been affected by the coronavirus (COVID-19), you are eligible to apply for unemployment benefits.
United States Small Business Administration (SBA) – The U.S. Small Business Administration is the only go-to resource and voice for small businesses backed by the strength of the federal government. They are currently offering Disaster Relief Lending.
United Way – The United Way has COVID 19 Community Economic Relief Fund to help with bills, rent, and food.
Another Round, Another Rally – Offering $500 relief grants for hospitality workers who lost their jobs or had their hours slashed in the wake of the COVID-19 outbreak, as well as accepting donations.
Bartender Emergency Assistance Program (BEAP) – The Bartender BEAP exists to assist qualified bartenders, barbacks, and bar servers who are in need of financial assistance as a result of a catastrophic event or an emergency hardship. This grant is available to bartenders or the spouse or child of a bartender, more eligibility requirements are available on their site.
Dining Bonds Initiative – A Dining Bond works like a savings bond, where you can purchase a “bond” at a value rate to be redeemed for face value at a future date. In order to participate in the Dining Bonds Initiative, your restaurant must be able to 1. Sell gift cards, 2. Offer an incentive discount on gift cards, and 3. Call such gift cards “Dining Bonds.”
One Fair Wage – OFW is an emergency fund created to provide cash assistance to restaurant workers, car service drivers, delivery workers, personal service workers and more who need the money they aren’t getting to survive while businesses are closed during the current pandemic.
Professional Beauty Association – PBA has a relief fund to help support the licensed beauty professionals who have not been able to work or are experiencing financial hardships due to the COVID-19 outbreak.
Restaurant Workers Relief Program – Restaurants across the country have turned into relief centers for any restaurant worker who has been laid off or has had a significant reduction in hours and/or pay. In Houston, Riel Restaurant has to-go meals available for pick up everyday from 10 AM – 12 PM and 5 – 7 PM for industry workers.
Southern Smoke Foundation – Founded by James Beard award-winning chef Chris Shepherd and public relations specialist Lindsey Brown, the Southern Smoke Foundation is a nonprofit dedicated to providing assistance to people working in the food and beverage community in times of need.
Woodlands Area Foodies Helps – A relief fund created by the Woodlands Area Foodies group.
Adolph & Esther Gottlieb Emergency Grant – Financial assistance to qualified, mature visual artists who have been working for 10+ years.
Artists’ Charitable Fund – This fund assists visual fine artists (painters and sculptors) living anywhere in the United States by paying a portion of their medical/dental/eye-care bills.
Arts and Culture Leaders of Color Emergency Fund – An emergency fund for BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, People of Color) artists and administrators.
Backline – A resource made to help provide those in the music industry and their families with mental health and wellness services.
COVID-19 Freelance Artist Resource – This is a constantly updating list created to assist freelance artists. There are guides on general preparedness, education resources, and more.
Craft Emergency Relief Fund (CERF+) – CERF+ emergency assistance includes grants and/or brokered assistance, such as booth fee waivers and discounts or donations on supplies and equipment. It is available to artists that have experienced a recent, career-threatening emergency, such as an illness, accident, fire or natural disaster.
Dramatists Guild Emergency Grants for Writers – This grant provides one-time emergency financial assistance to individual playwrights, composers, lyricists, and bookwriters in dire need of funds due to severe hardship or unexpected illness.
Equal Sound – A collaborative that provides financial assistance to musicians and music industry workers.
Freelance Co-Op – Freelance Co-Op provides temporary financial assistance to creative freelancer who has been adversely impacted by the COVID-19 virus.
Houston Arts Alliance Disaster Resilience for Artists & Non-Profits – A collection of resources compiled by the Houston Arts Alliance.
National Coalition for Arts’ Preparedness & Emergency Response (NCAPER) – NCAPER helps ensure that artists, arts/cultural organizations, cultural funders, and arts businesses have the capacity and ability to respond effectively to disasters and emergencies affecting the arts and culture sector.
Rauschenberg Emergency Grants – This program provides one-time grants of up to $5,000 for unexpected medical emergencies. The grants are available to visual and media artists and choreographers.
Sweet Relief – Sweet Relief is a financial assistance organization for musicians and music industry workers that helps provide funds for medical expenses, lodging, clothing, food, and other vital living expenses.
Houston Bar Association Legal Line – HBA is unveiling a new, weekly LegalLine in response to COVID-19. Beginning April 8, the LegalLine will be open Wednesdays from 5-8 PM through the end of May. Visit their sign-up form to reserve your time slot.
Houston Bar Association Eviction Assistance – The Houston Bar Association (HBA) is collaborating with legal groups and organizations to respond to the Houston evictions crisis. Greater Houston Area residents needing legal assistance regarding an eviction are invited to visit HBA.org/Evictions for information on free legal representation for low-income persons, a self-representation tool kit, mediation, lawyer referrals and more. To apply for free legal assistance through Houston Volunteer Lawyers (HVL), use this online intake or call HVL at (713) 228-0735.
Houston Volunteer Lawyers – HVL continues to operate remotely and are dedicated to serving HOPWA applicants and clients. Complete their application form and return via email to Cassandra.Suarez@hvlp.org.
American Addiction Centers – American Addiction Centers are hosting free virtual 12-step AA/NA support meetings throughout every week. These sessions will be based on traditional 12-step meetings, hosted by a person in recovery, and topics or meeting types will vary based on the group’s preference.
National Alliance on Mental Health (NAMI) – NAMI – Houston is offering virtual support groups for those interested in Family or Peer meetings.