CONCORD (KPIX) – Contra Costa County is throwing a $ 75 million lifeline to tenants and landlords with a new aid program funded from federal funds made available to the state.
California’s $ 2.6 billion in COVID-19 rental relief funds will finally help ease the crisis for both renters and landlords. For many in the Bay Area, it is a chance to escape the mountain of debt caused by the pandemic.
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Concord’s Monument Corridor has many apartments and many residents like Hector Rodrigues. He hasn’t worked for a year and can’t pay the rent. Rodrigues now owes more than $ 7,000.
“They tell me to pay, pay, pay … but how can I pay?” he asked. “Nothing, there is nothing.”
Now the COVID Rental Relief program is officially open. Contra Costa County alone has $ 75 million to free workers from their rental debts, said Contra Costa District 3 supervisor Diane Burgis.
“I’m really excited that we have a program that helps people stay in their homes. that there is one less thing to worry about, ”she said
Russ Heimerich, who works with the California Business Consumer Services & Housing Agency, which manages Contra Costa’s program, explained how it works. People who make up to 80 percent of the local median income apply for help. If their landlords agree, the state will pay 80 percent of the amounts owed.
“And with that they will agree to award the remaining 20 percent,” said Heimerich. “As soon as you take that 80 percent, the slate will be wiped clean and you will be caught.”
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It would cover the debt due to COVID that arose between April 1st and March 31st. If landlords refuse the offer for any reason, the state would pay 25 percent of the amounts owed by the renter, which the law prevents eviction.
The state has also classified the rent owed as a “consumer debt,” which can only be recovered by filing a lawsuit. But Supervisor John Gioia says change makes an important difference in law.
“Now they could only get a judgment against you for unpaid rent, but you cannot be evicted,” he said.
Joshua Howard of the California Apartment Association told KPIX that it may not. He says most landlords seem excited about the chance to get back 80 percent of the amounts owed to them.
“Our member service team has been asking questions non-stop since Monday, which shows us that the program is very exciting,” said Howard. “A lot of interest from [property] Owners apply to regain this income that they lost in the past year. “
Contra Costa County uses the state program, but other counties and local jurisdictions may administer the program in different ways. Regardless of where Bay Area residents live, people can find out where to apply by visiting the state’s website at HousingIsKey.com or by calling 1-833-2122.
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Help is offered in more than 200 languages and immigration status is not a problem with the program.