Do you need help paying your utility bills? Here’s how to apply for a Texas program

You may also be eligible for assistance on future mortgage payments.

Texas homeowners struggling to pay their past-due or future utility bills may be eligible to receive aid of up to $65,000 from a recently updated state assistance program.

Qualifying households that are behind on their mortgage, home-related expenses and utility bills can apply for financial assistance from the Texas Homeowner Assistance Fund, the Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs and Gov. Greg Abbott announced this month. The TDHCA is responsible for affordable-housing and energy-assistance programs in the state.

The program aims to help eligible households pay three months of future mortgage and utility payments. In the past, families could only receive help for past-due mortgage payments and weren’t eligible for any sort of utility payment assistance.


TDHCA implemented the changes in part because of higher electricity and gas bills faced by homeowners this summer, spokeswoman Kristina Tirloni said. Up to $10,000 is available in utility assistance per household, which is a part of the overall available amount.

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“There’s a lot of circumstances where maybe an individual is paying their mortgage assistance but unable to pay some of their other bills they had stacking up, including utility bills,” she said.

What is THAF?

The state-aid program launched in March in response to families experiencing financial setbacks related to the pandemic, including losing their jobs or facing increased homeownership expenses.


“This is our effort helping those individuals stay in their homes and get caught up in the best way that we’re able to,” Tirloni said.

More than 18,000 households have benefited from the fund so far, according to organization. On average, households have received $9,871 from the program. In Dallas County, more than 1,000 households benefited from the program, receiving an average of $11,656.

Relentless triple-digit temperatures this summer may have led some people’s electric bills to soar, which caused the agency to provide homeowners assistance on past-due and future payments for electricity, natural gas, propane, water and wastewater services.


Who is eligible for THAF?

In order to qualify for aid, you must own and occupy a home in Texas as your primary residence.

Other eligibility requirements include:

  • Experiencing a qualified financial hardship — usually losing your job.
  • Falling behind on payments for any of the following: mortgage loans, property taxes, property insurance, homeowner/condo association fees, or utility bills.
  • Having a household income at or below 100% of the area median income or 100% of the median income for the United States, whichever is greater. In the Dallas area, the median income is $89,000 for a household of four.

“As long as you meet eligibility requirements and you get the application in with all the required documentation … the staff will work with you in making sure those payments are taken care of,” Tirloni said.

However, assistance isn’t guaranteed if you meet all the eligibility requirements. If you are denied assistance, there is a way to appeal the denial.

If you’re still unsure whether your home qualifies, TDHCA has a questionnaire on its website that will guide you. Scroll to “Do I Qualify” on

How are the payments made?

The agency provides the assistance in the form of a grant, which means you don’t have to pay it back.


TDHCA provides mortgage or utility payments directly to the mortgage lender, local tax assessor, insurance company or other charging entity.

How do I apply?

To apply, you’ll need a variety of documents including:

  • Identification.
  • Proof of occupancy.
  • Income documentation, preferably tax returns, for each member of the household over the age of 18.
  • Assistance requested information, which depends on the program you’re seeking assistance from.

Documentation is not required for minors or full-time students. A full list of required documents is available from the program’s website called the Application Documents Checklist, under the forms and resources tab.

If you have other questions, TDHCA recommends calling its help center at 1-833-651-3874 Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Help is available in multiple languages, including Spanish.