HOUSTON - Harris County commissioners agreed in a split, party-line vote to double the size of a coronavirus relief fund for people who need help affording housing costs, utilities and other basic needs, the Houston Chronicle reports.
The fund was increased to $30 million and is estimated to help 20,000 households, the paper reported. The commissioners’ 3-2 vote came the same day that eviction proceedings could begin again in Texas. Housing advocates fear a surge in displacement and homelessness because unemployment has disproportionately affected renters since the crisis began.
- Scaling back child care subsidies: The Texas Workforce Commission is phasing out temporary child care subsidies for low-income parents and essential workers as Gov. Greg Abbott launches phase two of the state's attempted economic jump-start from coronavirus shutdowns. The programs were started in response to the coronavirus pandemic.
- Voting by mail: A federal judge ordered that all state voters, regardless of age, qualify for mail-in ballots during the coronavirus pandemic. U.S. District Judge Fred Biery agreed with individual Texas voters and the Texas Democratic Party that voters would face irreparable harm if existing age eligibility rules for voting by mail are in place for elections held while the coronavirus remains in wide circulation. Biery's ruling covers Texas voters who want to vote by mail so they don't risk contracting the coronavirus. The Texas attorney general said he would immediately appeal.
This article originally appeared in The Texas Tribune at https://www.texastribune.org/2020/05/20/coronavirus-updates-texas/.