OAKLAND, Calif. - Despite hundreds of thousands of Californians behind or unable to afford rent, the eviction moratorium expires at the end of the month, prompting state officials to encourage those struggling to apply for emergency rental assistance, if they haven’t already.
The California COVID-19 Rent Relief Program has paid out $650 million to 55,000 households, according to the state. It’s prepared to pay a total of $1.5 billion to low income tenants with the first round of federal funding.
"The state of California cannot afford low-income, working families from falling off the cliff and being evicted," California Housing and Community Development Director Gustavo Velasquez said. "The help is here and it will continue."
The eviction moratorium ends September 30, allowing landlords to begin the eviction process October 1 for tenants who are delinquent on rent in places where no additional protections exist.
Just applying for rental assistance can keep tenants from getting kicked out. Specifically, if a tenant can prove that they have applied, eviction proceedings will be paused immediately.
"Applying for rental assistance is the best way to protect yourself against being evicted," said California Business, Consumer Services and Housing Agency Secretary Lourdes Castro Ramirez. "There is still plenty of money that will provide full assistance for back and future rent."
The state said it has received 300,000 applications for rental relief but estimates 700,000 need help.
Right now, 140 organizations are in a race against the clock to get the money out.
But sometimes getting that has been slow.
The Department of Housing and Community Development said it did take several months to setup the nation’s largest rental assistance program.
"There was a process for us to grow," said Deputy Director Geoffrey Ross. "The program remains open. We’re going to continue making payouts."
California is paying out roughly $65 million in rental assistance a week, but is rapidly trying to push that to $100 million.
Another $1.5 billion in federal funding is expected to help those who need it for up to 18 months. The program runs through March 2022.
It isn’t necessary to get an eviction notice to apply.
For more information and to apply for the program, visit HousingIsKey.com or call the California COVID-19 Rent Relief Call Center at 1-833-430-2122.