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Gov. Gavin Newsom has announced that California’s COVID-19 Rent Relief Program reached a significant milestone on Sept. 13, with more than $1 billion in funds having been paid or approved for payment and awaiting disbursement.
The money will assist overmore than 74,000 households, Newsom added. More than $526 million of the $1 billion in rental and utility assistance has already been distributed to 44,432 low-income California households suffering financial hardship because of the pandemic.
The milestone represents a 638% increase since June 28, when Newsom signed Assembly Bill 832, which increased the level of assistance to 100% for both back rent and prospective rent. More than 243,000 applications have been received, and more than $2.2 billion in rent and utility assistance is currently pending eligibility verification and fraud prevention screening.
“In just six months, we have provided essential assistance to more than 44,000 households to keep families safely housed,” Newsom said. “Our program has been so successful that cities like Los Angeles decided to join efforts with the state to have an even greater impact.”
From Oct. 1 through March 31, tenants earning less than 80% of the area median income will be protected through a pre-eviction diversion process through the courts, as long as they have submitted a completed application for rental relief through either the state or a locally administered program.
“The COVID-19 pandemic brought so much pain and economic disruption, particularly to low-wage workers and low-income renter households,” Business, Consumer Services and Housing Agency Secretary Lourdes Castro Ramírez said. “Working with over 130 community-based partners, we are reaching families hardest hit – 85% being very low- or extremely low-income – and making landlords whole.”
In addition to providing 100% of back rent and prospective rent, AB 832 also gave California the strongest eviction protections in the nation. The extension of state-level eviction protections, which were initially established over a year ago, have provided housing stability for Californians throughout the pandemic, Newsom added.
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