Many Texans still need help getting back on their feet after facing the lasting effects of the pandemic.

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The Struggle

While businesses in Texas are re-opening, we are still under a state of disaster in all 254 counties in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Many local businesses had to shutter their doors for good and start all over. Changing careers is no easy feat, and after an extremely difficult year, there're still bills and debt collectors calling.

Thankfully, the Texas Supreme Court has extended the eviction diversion program that was set to expire July 31, 2021. The program now expires October 1, 2021, unless extended by the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court.

Where's the Money Coming From?

Governor Abbott,  has directed federal funding from the CARES Act, Community Development Block Grant, and Emergency Solutions Grant to rental assistance and eviction diversion, and the Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs, and in an effort to curb the possible surge of evictions due to the COVID-19 pandemic, assist Texas’s most vulnerable tenants, and provide landlords with an alternative to eviction.

How Do I Qualify?

If you're behind on rent or utility bills, the Texas Rent Relief Program can help get you back on track. Assistance is available for costs starting as far back as March 13, 2020, which is the date of Governor Abbott’s initial emergency declaration for Texas.

Renter households must have an income no more than 80 percent of area median income. Also, to be eligible households must have a past due utility or rent bill OR attest that if they do not receive assistance they would have to live in an unsafe or unhealthy environment during the pandemic, like a shared living situation or emergency shelter.

How Do I Apply?

Complete an online application at OR call a program representative at (833) 9TX-RENT (toll free), Monday-Saturday between the hours of 8 a.m. - 6 p.m. CST to apply over the phone. The toll free number offers assistance in multiple languages.

LOOK: Here are 25 ways you could start saving money today

These money-saving tips—from finding discounts to simple changes to your daily habits—can come in handy whether you have a specific savings goal, want to stash away cash for retirement, or just want to pinch pennies. It’s never too late to be more financially savvy. Read on to learn more about how you can start saving now. [From: 25 ways you could be saving money today]

KEEP READING: See the richest person in every state

Top 15 Under the Radar Cities in Texas

Texas is booming, and as more people move here, they'll be looking at areas like Austin or Houston to settle down. There are plenty of others places they ought to consider, though.

Using data from the U.S. Census Bureau, along with data about home sales and public school ratings, Orchard recently ranked and graded the Top 15 Under the Radar Cities in Texas.

These are unexpectedly good places to make a life for yourself and your family in the Lone Star State. Did your hometown make the list?

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