Harris County’s COVID-19 Relief Fund opened up another round of public aid today, but within hours, applicants were having a hard time getting through both online and by phone.
The $30 million relief fund was created to help people struggling financially due to the economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic. Residents of Harris County that are eligible were encouraged to apply either online or on the phone, starting at 6 am on June 23 and through 10 pm on June 24, but it didn’t take long for the website to start experiencing technical issues as well as for the phone lines to become overwhelmed with applicants.
With the website struggling to keep up with demand, an update was posted earlier today that read as follows:
“Due to high volume of traffic, we are experiencing slow downs on the Harris County COVID-19 Relief Fund online application. We are currently receiving application submissions. If you are submitting your application and receiving a 502 and 504 error message, your application was likely submitted. We will confirm your submission via text or e-mail by tomorrow morning.
We apologize for the inconvenience. Our team is working to resolve these issues as quickly as possible. Keep in mind that the application is open until 10 p.m. tomorrow, and that you can also apply over the phone at (832) 848-0214.
Today, the phone application is open between 6 a.m. and 2 p.m.”
But after visitors were encouraged to apply over the phone while the website issues were sorted out, the phone lines also became overwhelmed with extensive wait times being reported by applicants. This lead to another update to be posted at HarrisCountyRelief.orgstating that they were increasing the number of call operators to meet the high demand.
The relief fund is available to certain low-income Harris County residents that are living at or under 60% of the area median income. Eligible residents also need to be impacted in an economic sense by COVID-19 and have not received additional city or county funding form a COVID-19 financial assistance program.
Due to the vast need across the county, funds are not guaranteed to be available if you apply. For this round, recipients will be chosen via a random drawing of applicants.