“This Program Was Truly a Blessing”: Facts From California’s Leading $4 Billion State Rent Relief Program

SACRAMENTO — California has provided more direct aid than any other state in rental relief and eviction protection during the pandemic. In the past 15 months, California’s leading housing benefit program has delivered approximately $4 billion in financial aid to more than 340,000 tenant households, preventing homelessness and providing stability to more than 700,000 Californians. This year’s budget provides for an additional $1.95 billion in rent assistance for eligible applicants who have applied through March 31, 2022.

“California had the largest and most successful eviction and rent relief program in the country,” Governor Newsom said. “As a result, 340,000 families were not evicted and the vast majority of aid went to very low-income households. Preventing homelessness, protecting public health, stabilizing families.”

California’s program is the largest unified emergency rental assistance program in the nation, covering approximately 64% of the state’s population, with local emergency rental assistance programs covering the remainder. To date, the state program has spent the most of any single program in the country, deploying aid twice as fast as the next closest program in the country. All applications received before March 31, for which the application had the necessary information to determine eligibility, have been paid.

“By partnering with a local network of 144 culturally competent community organizations that involve landlords, legal aid groups, local cities and counties, and our federal partner at US Treasury, we have collectively helped more than one million people in California stay safe and stable. . said Lourdes Castro Ramirez, secretary of the Business, Consumer Services and Housing Agency. “The pandemic has pushed us to address home instability as an emergency, and the California COVID-19 Rent Relief program has been a critical lifeline with the financial resources to act quickly and compassionately. We are proud of the partnerships built in operating the nation’s largest and most successful emergency rental utility.”

“This program has been a real blessing. Since the pandemic broke out, I didn’t have enough money for many things. The program helped to keep food in my fridge, gas in my car.” – Alisha, a tenant in Los Angeles County.

The figures below are a reflection of the major local jurisdictions in the state program in terms of amount of aid and households served.

“The California COVID-19 Rent Relief program is the most successful in the nation, with more than 340,000 households receiving welfare payments,” said Gustavo Velasquez, director of the Department of Housing and Community Development. “Of all payments made, 86 percent of supported households have an income of 50 percent or less than the average surface income, protecting our most vulnerable tenants. We have processed all applications received and will pay each eligible applicant.”

“This program has been very helpful during these difficult times. I’ve had personal issues all along and I’m blessed to have had this help. It helped me not to end up in a homeless shelter.” – Adam a tenant in Los Angeles County.

Individual support for applicants who need help with open jobs, occupations or other help with their application is still available. Applicants are encouraged to call 833-687-0967 to arrange an appointment in their preferred language. All eligible applicants who have submitted full applications before March 31, 2022 will receive support for a total of up to 18 months for the period beginning April 1, 2020 and ending March 31, 2022.

In addition, legal resources are available to support tenants in navigating the protections available. Inexpensive or free legal help is available at www.lawhelpca.org and/or the Tenant Resources page on HousingIsKey.com.

The state program public dashboard will be refreshed on July 1, 2022 to reflect this week’s payroll figures referenced above. In addition to the most recent figures on spending and households served, the public dashboard also includes aid information by demographics, by jurisdiction, among other programmatic data points.

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