Press Statement: Re: COVID Rent Relief Unavailable to All Eligible Renters

Press Statement: Re: COVID Rent Relief Unavailable to All Eligible Renters


Press‌ ‌Contact:‌ ‌ ‌

Francisco Dueñas,‌ ‌Executive Director,‌ ‌Housing Now!,‌ [email protected] (habla español)

August 5, 2021 

State Rent Relief Unavailable to All Eligible Renters Across California

Cities and counties including City of Los Angeles are not accepting applications for California’s COVID rent relief program

Los Angeles -- The Cities of Los Angeles, Irvine, and Riverside, Santa Clarita, as well as Orange County, and Placer County, have all closed applications for people seeking assistance through California’s emergency rental assistance program (ERAP). The city of Anaheim’s ERAP website only allows new applications from landlords, not tenants. Despite messages from the state that help is available to California renters, in these locations the process is closed, and for some tenants they have nowhere to apply for aid.

Since April 30, 2021, the emergency rental assistance application in the City of Los Angeles has been closed to new applications, March 19th for Irvine. In these cities, there is no waitlist and applicants cannot apply to the State program for aid. In addition, the City of Los Angeles only accepted applications from tenants 50% AMI and below, leaving federally eligible tenants between 50-80% AMI without aid.

By keeping the program closed, the City of Los Angeles, and other local jurisdictions where the applications are closed and tenants cannot apply to the State program, are leaving thousands of tenants vulnerable to eviction and homelessness as a policy choice. Starting Oct. 1st, under the state’s new law, AB 832, whether a tenant has been denied assistance or whether funds are depleted could be decisive factors if their landlord files an eviction.

In addition, local jurisdictions also have no way to assess the true need for rent relief while the application remains closed. If a local jurisdiction doesn’t have enough funding to cover the need, under AB 832, it can advocate for the state to reallocate funding based on the unmet need. But without knowing the unmet need, a local jurisdiction cannot advocate for more aid. At the very least, local jurisdictions overseeing rental assistance programs should be required to maintain waitlists so the true number of people needing assistance is clear and captured.

California tenants are getting mixed signals. The state says apply for rental assistance, but the reality is that people in the city of L.A. and the six other locations we’ve identified either have nowhere to apply or are at risk of getting lost in the shuffle between programs.