Hundreds of thousands of Californians are in limbo as they await the outcome of the state’s rent assistance program. Within 24 hours, they may immediately lose all rights against eviction. One of them is Kamilah Miller. She had been waiting three months for public assistance.
“I swear, if it weren’t for the children, it wouldn’t be nearly as difficult, but the children, knowing they won’t have a place to sleep tomorrow. And because we are responsible renters, we take care of things.
We work as diligently as possible, but the system is not designed for us, “Miller stated.
Kamilah is a mother of six children. She and her husband run a daycare out of their house, but they lost business and fell behind on rent due to the epidemic. They owe two months’ rent, which is almost $5,000.
They may become homeless if California’s rent help program expires tomorrow. A reality they are all too familiar with. Their entire family had already been homeless twice.
“The whole school was aware that they were homeless since they knew their daily route to school. They were aware of their origins. It’s painful since we’ve worked so hard to have a roof in the first place, “Miller stated.
She joined a coalition of tenants pressing local and state officials to enact rent control legislation or prolong renters’ rights beyond Thursday.
Assemblymember Timothy Grayson’s bill, AB 2179, would extend the ban on evictions until June for everyone who asks for state assistance by Thursday.
We’re only 24 hours away from the deadline, yet the law has not yet been passed.
“Tomorrow, it will be brought to the Senate floor for a total vote. I’m convinced that my colleagues recognize and understand the critical nature of assisting thousands of Californians in maintaining a roof over their heads, “Assemblymember Grayson stated.
On the other side, landlords represented by the East Bay Rental Housing Association do not believe AB 2179 is the answer.
“Is it truly resolving the issue? We know that over 500,000 applications have been submitted at the state level. 160,000 transactions have been completed. There is an unbelievable backlog there. “Derek Barnes, Executive Director of the East Bay Rental Housing Association, echoed this sentiment.
According to Derek Barnes, landlords feel the strain of the state’s backlog. He claims that more than half of the landlords they have assisted have gotten no assistance from the authorities.
“This has been going on for months for some of our members. We are continuously receiving calls inquiring as to what the latest developments are. When will the funds arrive? “Barnes stated.
An extension until June would provide Kamilah with a home for her children, but come July 1; she might be back at square one.
“I have no idea what this nation will become if this occurs since so many people will be on the streets. How can anyone survive if we don’t have a place to call home? “Miller stated.
Assemblymember Timothy Grayson stated that the federal government has been extremely slow in disbursing funds, which has impacted the state’s backlog. Each week, the state processes over $9,000 in applications. According to the policy link, 350,000 Californians are still awaiting assistance.
At this rate, clearing the backlog will take at least nine months. Assemblymember Grayson encourages overdue residents on their rent due to a COVID-related reason to apply for the Housing is Key program by March 31.
Even if the state rejects their application, he asserts that they will be shielded from eviction until June if the bill is passed.
“It is critical that everyone understands that they must complete an application and get into the queue. Once in the queue, you are protected until the end of June, “Grayson, an Assemblymember, stated.
California got a federal grant of $5.2 billion for this initiative. “HCD got $2.5 billion; the balance of the money was distributed directly to administering jurisdictions. HCD just received a $198 million transfer from the US Treasury.
HCD will continue to seek extra funding from the United States Treasury to ensure that we can finance all qualifying applications received, “Housing and Community Development’s Alicia Murillo said.