Rent Relief – Will Californians Wait Longer?
March 2021 was the start of a series of unprecedented events to hit the global economy. The Pandemic has affected billions of revenues across all nations, and some populations have been more affected than others. Rent Relief provides financial assistance to qualified individuals and their families, and this ends by the end of the month.
Numbers and a Deadline
California, USA- only 16% percent have been paid the rent relief according to a recent analysis. A small percentage compared to the more than 488,000 households who applied for assistance since the program launched in March 2021. According to the study, 180,000 were approved, four percent were denied and more than half of the applicants are still waiting for a response. And the clock is ticking- landlords will be able to evict tenants who fail to pay by April 1.
But even most renters whose applications were approved are still waiting for a check, according to the analysis. Of the 180,000 households whose applications were approved, just more than 75,000 households were paid and 90% of those households have reapplied for more money.
Monica Hernández, a spokesperson with the California Department of Housing and Community Development, said that the state’s dashboard has “the most current and accurate numbers.” To date, out of 467,00 complete applications, 41% are payments made and each week more than $80 million is going out to more than 8,000 households. However, the authors of the study stand by their analysis that $900 million has been paid (“application complete, paid” in the state’s data), while another $1.15 billion has only been approved (“application complete, payment pending”).
Shorter Wait Time
Wait time is around 3 months to get approval and another month to get paid, although shorter compared to 4 months for those who applied in October. This is in reference to Hernández’s reply that wait time “does not account for the different rules that different applications applied under at different times” or “for incomplete, duplicate, or potentially fraudulent applications that we are just now clearing out of the data.”
The budget bill passed by the Legislature in February means that every eligible applicant seeking assistance for eligible costs submitted and incurred on or before March 31, 2022, will be assisted. That also means March 31 is the new deadline to apply for rent relief.
No Evictions..for now
State ban of tenant evictions due to the non-payment of rent was placed at the start of the Pandemic and was extended a couple of times, ending in October, with the condition that landlords will not be able to evict non-paying tenants until March 31 under the pretense that the tenants applied for rent relief from the state.
And it continues to face additional challenges with Ninety percent reporting difficulties accessing the application and 82% claiming difficulty getting information regarding their applications. This seems to be coming mostly from non-English speakers, seniors, and people with informal leases, according to Tenants Together, an advocacy group. The advocacy group also stated that there seems to be a lack of understanding in the legislature that tenants will become homeless after being evicted from their homes.
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