One of the huge issues we’re dealing with coming out of the pandemic is housing instability. Those who were unable to work throughout various stretches of the past year are experiencing drastically increased stress related to rent and utilities. As we emerge from this, the hope is that our government will provide programs to help its residents through these issues.
The state of California has established a COVID-19 rent relief program to supply funds to both renters and landlords. The assistance can apply to both past due rent and utilities or those who need help with upcoming rents. Landlords in the program will be reimbursed 80% of an eligible renter’s unpaid fees between April1, 2020 and March 31, 2021 as long as they agree to waive the remaining 20%. Eligible renters whose landlords are not participating in the program will receive 25% of their unpaid rent between the same dates.
For future assistance, renters can receive assistance for 25% of their monthly rent into the future. This, along with the assistance of past unpaid rent will help keep renters safe from eviction now that protections in SB 19 expired on June 30th. This program is a way to help reduce evictions and help the many California renters who are experiencing financial hardship.
The League of Women’s Voters of Berkeley, Albany, and Emeryville is committed to helping to spread awareness of this program to those who may need it. The League is also highlighting the efforts of the city of Albany to spread the word about the new California COVID-19 rent relief program. They are doing the important work of getting the information out to those who need it. LWVBAE President Kandea Mosley emphasized that the League “has a responsibility to educate the public about the housing crisis”. We must “do our part to get the word out about rent relief programs.”
Especially in the Bay Area, and California as a whole, rates of homelessness have been steadily increasing and the efforts of our government to ameliorate this crisis haven’t dealt with the scale of the problem. Matters have certainly not been helped by the pandemic.
“One of the primary functions of government is to protect and care for people. And it’s our obligation to work with and hold political officials accountable,” Mosley said, before identifying important parts of combatting the housing crisis, which include “building affordable housing, creating stable communities, and assisting renters and landlords so renters can remain in the housing they have.” The COVID-19 rent relief program is hopefully a crucial step towards preventing the worsening of this crisis.
Visit the California website to see if you’re eligible for aid and take the next steps.
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