State rental assistance payments tripled, officials say – Press Enterprise – California News Times

State officials said at a press conference on Wednesday, August 4, that state-paid rental assistance to low-income tenants suffering from a pandemic tripled in July, with more than 20,000 rental households so far this year. He said he was receiving $ 442.7 million in rent relief. The program was livestreamed on Zoom.

But the state still has a long way to go. The amount approved so far is less than 5% of the total amount of parliament allocated to the state for tenant relief under the stimulus bills passed in December and March.

“Last week I received an email from a real estate owner who wrote to me that the rent relief program was blessed,” said Lourdes Castro Ramirez, secretary of the State Business, Consumer Services & Housing Agency. rice field. The email said, “Residents can sigh of relief.”

As of Tuesday, the state had received more than 132,000 rental assistance applications from about 91,000 households, new state data show. Of these, more than 20,066 households, or 22% of the total, are repaying backrents.

The applications received so far have requested relief for over $ 1 billion in rent. State figures show that the amount paid so far is equivalent to 23% of the amount requested. By comparison, the average paid by the 26 states reviewed by NBC News was less than 10%, said Gustavo Velázquez, director of state housing and community development.

“California leads the country in paying money,” Velázquez said during the briefing. “Here in California, we’re really reaching the speed we need to get qualified support for everyone struggling with rent and utilities.”

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California State Legislature has approved $ 5.2 billion to repay 100% of the rent that low-income rents in the state have to pay to landlords. An additional $ 2 billion has been approved for tenants to cover their unpaid water, electricity and other utility bills.

The funding comes from approximately $ 46 billion of rental aid allocated by Congress.

To date, national emergency rental assistance programs have been plagued by slow deployments, raising the risk of a wave of peasant evictions after the federal peasant eviction protection has expired. For example, as of June 30, US Treasury figures show that over $ 1.5 billion in rent relief was paid nationwide.

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention peasant eviction moratorium, which expired on Saturday, July 31, was revived until Tuesday, October 3, but only in some of the countries facing the most severe COVID-19 outbreaks.

In California, the urgency of paying rental assistance is low. The state-specific eviction moratorium is valid until September 30th. Also, tenants who pay more than 25% of their rent during a pandemic cannot evict their backrents even after the Moratorium has expired.

“California has the strongest peasant eviction protection in the country.” Castro Ramirez said. “California’s peasant eviction protection will be extended beyond September 30 to eligible lessees.”

State figures do not include payments made by more than 30 local jurisdictions that control all or part of their own federal rental assistance allocations.

A month ago, the state paid only $ 73 million in rent aid. This is less than one-third of the current total. Only 7,600 households were paid.

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Applications are also growing, jumping from an average of 4,500 per week before July to an average of 7,500 per week.

“Incoming applications and outgoing payments have increased dramatically,” Velasquez said.

State officials have cited many improvements to the state’s online portal used to apply for assistance. According to Velázquez, this includes fixing errors in translations into different languages ​​caused by reliance on translation software. The application process has also been streamlined, reducing the average time required to complete an application to approximately 30 minutes. The amount of documentation needed to support the application has also been reduced, officials said.

Eighty-five percent of the applications received so far have been sent to households that earn less than 50% of the median income in the region (the group designated as “very low-income” households). Federal law has restricted rental assistance to “low-income” households that earn less than 80% of the region’s median income, but some jurisdictions prioritize the poorest tenants first.

Related: How to apply for rental assistance in Southern California

Take our survey: Did you receive rental support?

Some low-income tenants corresponding to Southern California Newsgroup Online Survey They complained that they were deemed ineligible for assistance because their income was too high. One lessee said his annual income of $ 40,000 exceeded the $ 39,500 limit for a family of four in San Bernardino County by $ 500.

Other tenants complained that they had not yet received a response to the application submitted in March, or were asked to resubmit a new application after the state was changed to the new platform.

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For some locally managed programs, such as the cities of Los Angeles and Anaheim, the application period ended in March or April.

However, at least one tenant who responded to the survey said her state leasing assistance had gone through a “big hour” after a “horrible three-month” wait.

When a resident is considered eligible for assistance, a dedicated team will contact the landlord to complete the application and clarify how payments will be sent directly to the real estate owner. If the landlord does not respond or refuses to participate, the payment will be paid to the tenant and the tenant will pay the rent within 15 days.

You can submit your state rental and utility assistance application at the following URL: Alternatively, call the state contact center toll-free number (833-430-2122) seven days a week from 7 am to 7 pm.

State rental assistance payments tripled, officials say – Press Enterprise Source link State rental assistance payments tripled, officials say – Press Enterprise



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