Over $5 billion has been distributed by state and local programs
More than 1.2 million residents have received assistance in over 500,000 households
Governor Newsom has proposed an additional $2.7 billion in emergency rental assistance in the California Blueprint May Revision
SACRAMENTO – Governor Gavin Newsom today announced that California’s state and local rent relief programs have hit a major milestone with over $5 billion having been distributed to help more than 1.2 million Californians impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic stay stably housed. The Governor’s California Blueprint May Revision proposes an additional $2.7 billion in emergency rental assistance for eligible applicants who applied through March 31, creating a total $8.1 billion investment.
“With the largest rent relief program of any state in the nation, we’ve ensured more than one million Californians remain housed, and we’re advancing funding to help more families get back on their feet through this historic effort,” said Governor Newsom. “As California’s recovery progresses, the state is committed to continuing our work to ensure the hardest-hit communities have the support and resources they need to thrive.”
Throughout the pandemic, California has had the most robust eviction protections, for the longest period of time, in the country. Statewide eviction protections remain in place through June 30, 2022, for eligible applicants who applied through March 31, with additional local protections in place throughout the state. The state program has helped those hardest hit by the pandemic, with more than 85 percent of households that have received rental assistance at or below 50 percent of Area Median Income.
“Keeping people stably housed has been a critical component of California’s emergency response to the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Business, Consumer Services and Housing Agency Secretary Lourdes Castro Ramírez. “In partnership with our federal and local partners, we have responded quickly and compassionately to address housing insecurity as a health emergency and stabilize over a million vulnerable Californians.”
As of this week, the state program has provided rental assistance to more than 309,000 households, with an average payment of more than $11,000. With an average of 2.33 individuals per household assisted, the state program has kept more than 720,000 adults, children and seniors in their homes. And with the hard work of local jurisdictions that are running their own rent relief programs, an additional 233,000 households have been served, assisting a total of more than 500,000 residents. In all, the number of people kept stably housed exceeds 1.2 million.
“Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, California has answered the call of the U.S. Treasury to work with urgency to get rental assistance dollars into the hands of families in need so they could remain housed during the emergency,” said Gustavo Velasquez, the Director of the California Department of Housing and Community Development. “To reach more than one million residents in just over a year is incredible. It is critical that applicants act as quickly as possible to reply to any requested action or response so they can receive the funding they requested.”
The milestone comes as the state program announced that case managers have reviewed all applications submitted by March 31, 2022, and continue working with applicants, both landlords and renters, as the state program reviews the remaining applications and distributes relief funds to eligible Californians in need. All eligible applicants who submitted complete applications by March 31, 2022 will receive assistance, covering a total of up to 18 months for the period beginning April 1, 2020 and ending March 31, 2022.
State program dollars have been distributed throughout California, with residents of the City of Los Angeles receiving the largest share of California’s COVID-19 Rent Relief program funds totaling over $1 billion to nearly 86,000 households. The counties of Los Angeles, Orange, Contra Costa, and the city and county of San Francisco round out the top five jurisdictions with tenants assisted to date.
Martha, an Orange County resident, was assisted by the state program and Local Partner Network organization, Helpline Youth Counseling. The pandemic brought hardship to her life, and she struggled with health issues. “I have not been able to work and was behind on rent for several months,” she said. “I am so happy programs like these exist. Completing this application has given me hope that I thought I lost since COVID-19.”
Adam, a resident of Los Angeles County, had the following to say about the state’s rental assistance program: “This program has been extremely helpful during these tough times. I’ve had personal difficulties throughout and am blessed to have received this assistance. It has helped keep me from being placed in a homeless shelter.”
Individual support for applicants needing assistance with outstanding tasks, appeals, or other help with their application is still available. Applicants are encouraged to call 833-687-0967 to schedule an appointment in their preferred language.
In addition, legal aid resources are available to support tenants navigating available protections. Low-or no-cost legal help is available through www.lawhelpca.org and/or the Tenant Resources page on HousingIsKey.com.