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Mission provides financial assistance for residents

The Community Development Block Grant program still has about $60,000 available to help those recovering from the COVID-19 pandemic. Whether a Mission resident lost their job or had to cut back on work due to the widespread illness, they may qualify for financial assistance. 

The CDBG is a program that receives funding from the federal government to help primarily low-income residents in Mission. They help fund agencies that provide services, such as food assistance, medication assistance, home repairs and rehab services. 

CDBG aids Mission residents year-round. However, the federal government allocated about $300,000 in CARES Act funds to the block grant program specifically for those the COVID-19 pandemic hit hardest. After reallocating about $100,000, CDBG has used about $140,000 to help Missionites recover financially. But there is still money to go around. 

The emergency program funds are for rent, mortgage or utility assistance for households only, not businesses. To qualify, applicants must be Mission residents, have proof that their financial issues are a result of the pandemic and they must already be behind on payment. CDBG will provide one-time assistance for up to six months for qualifying families. 

“They have to have some kind of financial loss — maybe they lost their job, they were furloughed, they cut their hours so of course they’re affected because they aren’t receiving the same amount of money,” Community Development Director JoAnne Longoria said. “They could also have been affected by COVID because they got sick or a family member got sick, and they had to leave their job or they had to ask for an adjustment in their schedule. And now they lost some of their income because they’re caring for someone that has COVID.” 

To apply or inquire about qualifications, Missionites can contact the Community Development Department at 956.580.8670 or visit the office at 1301 E. 8th Street. Additionally, the CDBG staff holds one-stop-shop events at the CEED building each month, where residents can visit with staff in person to inquire about assistance. 

Longoria said the turnout for the monthly events was more than 100 people in the first two months. But since they began in June 2022, attendance has dwindled to only about 20 in the last couple of months. 

“There’s still money; they need to come over and apply,” the director said. “We just encourage them to be patient and be understanding that the program is federal, and we do require a lot of documentation.” 

Residents need to provide accurate and official paperwork. Required documents include:

  • Social security cards for all household members
  • A valid Texas ID
  • Birth certificate for all household members
  • U.S. passport or permanent resident card
  • Rent/mortgage contracts
  • Eviction notice
  • Past due utility bills
  • Most recent bank statements 
  • Recent tax return
  • Most recent months of pay stubs
  • 2023 benefit award letters

Residents that need rent or mortgage assistance that do not qualify for the CDBG emergency relief program also have the opportunity to receive help from Affordable Homes of South Texas. If families do not qualify through Affordable Homes either, CDBG will still refer those in need to other community service agencies. 

Longoria said the community development department does its best to find a way to help those struggling. 

“We need to bring them up to date so they do not become homeless. We do not want anybody to be evicted or have their utilities shut off,” Longoria said. “That’s why outreach is so important…so people can become aware and get assistance. And maybe they were not affected, but they know someone who was and they can get that word out to those individuals. We just want to help the residents in the community become up to date and continue being sheltered.”

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