Coronavirus Rent Relief Programs could help alleviate some of the worries of many residents who are considered low-income earners and are having problems paying rent in many cities and counties across the Bay Area.
Last week, San Jose and Santa Clara counties launched a $60 million program to help people who are on the verge of homelessness. The program would prioritize adults who are earning less than 30% of the county’s median income.
Officials have set up a website that comes in three languages, English, Spanish, and Vietnamese. They also created local outreach groups that would be ready to assist renters in 20 different languages.
California officials provided an initial fund of $2.6 billion in federal aid to cover housing debts and stave off evictions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Landlords and tenants are slowly gaining access to the programs. About $500 million has already been set aside for the Bay Area.
The state’s eviction moratorium ends on June 30, causing anxiety to thousands of residents in the Bay Area who are unsure of being able to pay rent to keep their homes. As many tenants are protected from legal actions if they pay at least a quarter of owed rent, advocates are urging authorities to extend the deadline while landlord groups are opposing the proposal.
There is an estimated $400 million in unpaid rent, the Legislative Analyst’s Office said. However, other economic surveys put the numbers at a massive $4 billion and steadily rising. Many residents have lost their jobs due to the COVID-19 pandemic and many regions are still struggling to provide new job opportunities.
San Mateo and Contra Costa counties launched their own programs in March while Alameda County started a program prioritizing very low-income earners. Keep Oakland Housed is an Oakland-based program that was temporarily suspended last week due to the sheer number of applications, Mercury News reported.
“There’s no better way to prevent homelessness, and this is absolutely the most important thing that we can do to help on the eviction time bomb,” Santa Clara County Supervisor Otto Lee said of their efforts to focus on the poor.