Help paying rent for COVID 19 in California

The COVID-19 pandemic has put millions of people out of work, and many have fallen behind on their rent. A mix of temporary eviction restrictions has kept many delinquent tenants in their homes, but late payments have to be paid back at some point.

Help paying rent for Covid-19 in California

To help, California created a Housing program that uses federal funds from the December 2020 stimulus bill. The state program is designed to eliminate back rent payments racked up by low-income renters, while providing landlords with most of the money those tenants owe.

The application system, for tenants and owners, was launched on Monday, March 15, 2021. In this article we will show you how you can access the housing applications in spanish that will give you help to pay rent in California.

Here’s what you need to know about California’s COVID-19 rental assistance program:

Requirements to apply for help paying rent in California due to COVID-19

In order to apply for help paying rent, tenants must have experienced a financial setback related to the pandemic and demonstrate that they are at some risk of homelessness or housing instability. Renters must also be low-income, which is defined as having a household income at or below 80% of the median income for an area, often a county.

Since the pandemic has affected revenue, the rating is not based on pre-pandemic revenue, but on 2020 or current revenue. You can see the median income levels for the area, by household size, here.

The requirements to apply for the help program to pay rent in California due to Covid-19 are:

  • A termination letter from your job
  • Pay stub last received with employer information
  • Proof of application for unemployment
  • Proof that your unemployment benefits have expired, including unemployment benefits provided through the CARES Act
  • For those who are self-employed: tax records, statements, or other proof of job loss

What help can I receive?

Low-income tenants experiencing pandemic hardship could see all rent debt they have accumulated from April 1, 2020 through March 31, 2021 canceled. To do so, the landlord must agree to forgive 20% of the debt. If the landlord does, the state program pays the landlord the remaining 80%.

If the landlord does not forgive 20%, low-income tenants can receive funds to pay 25% of their rent during that period.

Under state rules, landlords cannot evict tenants for non-payment of rent as long as the tenant pays, by June 30, 25% of what they owe from September 2020 to June 2021.

Under California’s rental assistance program, tenants can obtain funds to pay 25% of their future rent. Help can also be obtained for public services.

Undocumented immigrants are eligible for all benefits, and will not be asked about their citizenship status.

How do you request help to pay rent for COVID 19?

So much Landlords and tenants can apply on the State website, here. You can also call 833-430-2122.

If you live in the cities of Los Angeles or Long Beach, your application will be processed locally and not by the State. Some localities, including those two, have chosen to run the state program on their own. The rules about how much aid you can get, including the option to erase debt, are the same, but applications will be handled by those cities, not the state.

According to the website of the Los Angeles Department of Housing and Community Investment, on March 30 they began accepting applications for people who live in the city of Los Angeles. Richard de la Torre, a Long Beach spokesman, said the county’s second-largest city hopes to have an online application “in the next few weeks.”

There are a handful of jurisdictions, like Santa Clarita and Riverside, that are choosing to use their pot of federal stimulus money to set up their own rent relief programs and make their rules separate from the state’s.

Ross said people in those places are still eligible for help under the state program, but their applications may face delays to avoid duplication of payments.

How much money is available?

There is more than $2 billion in rent and utility relief funds available in the state program, administered directly by the state, or by major cities, including Los Angeles. Another $321 million will be available in wholly independent programs created by cities like Santa Clarita.

The money may not be enough to cover all the people who could benefit from the program, but it is difficult to ensure it.

The economic outlook is fluid, and estimates of accumulated rental debt are based on surveys and models, rather than hard data.

Is there more money to help renters and landlords?

Yes. The American Rescue Plan signed by President Biden last week includes $21.6 billion in rental assistance across the country. How those funds will be distributed has not yet been finalized.

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