Like many, Trina Harper lost her job at the start of the coronavirus epidemic.
The 51-year-old Chino resident, who worked as a security guard at an oil refinery, initially relied on his savings to support himself and his three grandchildren. But once his account is exhausted earlier this year, he goes back to the government for basic necessities like rent.
“I saved a lot of money,” Harper said. “I’ve heard of programs in small communities. I ignored it the first time, but once my savings go down, I get a little frustrated. “
Stories like Harper’s why the government-San Bernardino and Riverside County have launched co-rent-relief programs. The livelihoods of many internal empire families were affected by the epidemic and they found themselves on the verge of eviction. So internal county governments have joined the nonprofit group to provide financial assistance to cover rent and provide other directions.
Harper first applied to the Housing Is Key State program and said he waited two months for a response. Subsequently, he received a call that his application had been accepted through the internal SoCal United Way, which partnered with San Bernardino County in a local rent-relief program.
San Bernardino County has launched a program that focuses on providing assistance to its most vulnerable residents – especially after the extension of the state’s eviction moratorium ended Thursday, Sept. 30.
A moratorium was issued in August 2020 and eviction of tenants was prohibited if rent was not paid due to economic hardship related to the epidemic.
“The advantage of the suspension is that it allows all parties to breathe and it allows people to get rental assistance,” said Augustine Arola, senior implementation manager at Lift to Rise, an organization based in Cochela Valley. For outreach promotions for county and inland SoCal United Way rental assistance.
Governor Gavin News had banned evictions at the beginning of the epidemic and that ban was supposed to end on June 30, but the end date was extended.
The federal government has provided ২ 5.2 million to California in an effort to increase rental assistance, where tenants will have to prove they are eligible by paying 0% of the proof. Ten0 by September. They have gone through economic hardship because of the epidemic.
Inland SoCal United Way is one of those organizations that is collaborating with both counties in outreach and funding. In April, it teamed up with San Bernardino County to form the San Bernardino Rental Relief Partnership to help residents with back-up rent and utilities.
Prior to the establishment of the program, the county relied on the state program, which began in January, for the release of rent. Following additional federal funding for second-round emergency rent assistance in March, the Board of Supervisors decided to launch its own program.
This requires that the tenants earn 50% or less of the county’s median income, which is different from the state requirement that it specifically pays low-income residents who make কম 37,650 or less for a family of four, for example.
The program allows applicants to request relief for utility debt accumulated since the onset of the epidemic and will be available until September 30, 2022 or until the end of funding. Residents received an average of ,500 13,500 per applicant, San Bernardino County spokeswoman Felisa Cardona said in an email.
In June 2020, Inland Socle United Way and Lift to Rise established a program called United Lift for Riverside County residents.
This requires households with an annual income of 0% or less of the county’s median income and includes an average of, 7,610.27 per household in rent and utility assistance after March 2021, when the U.S. Treasury provided an additional $ 50 million in emergency rent assistance. .
United Lift has assisted 20,000,000 households in Riverside County, where 0% of households are extremely low-income tenants.
Most applicants exceeded the expected demand for funds, averaging about ,500 6,500 for their debt. This indicates a high need, he said. When the government issued the stimulus check, it was clear that people were using that money for rent.
“Since the stimulus was made available, we’ve seen a small drop in applications,” he said. “Over the next month or a month and a half we’ve seen an increase in applications again.”
Rental advocacy groups, such as Riverside County’s Fair Housing Council, have also helped applicants to rent-assistance programs, especially those who struggle with language barriers or who often need clarification during the intimidation process.
“The suspension offers a great opportunity for tenants who are hesitant to apply, especially many of our Spanish-speaking listeners,” said Linda Lagunas, the council’s lead program manager. “There are a lot of challenges due to the required documentation. I think this has caused a lot of delays, especially in the case of people with language barriers. ”
Areola said the approval process from start to finish takes about 45 days.
Lagunas said most of the people reaching out for help are elderly residents, unmarried parents and those who have recently run out of unemployment benefits. He said the council has seen a unique situation with homeless students and recently separated couples.
Areola said the need for housing assistance is not new.
“We see that people’s priorities always have a roof over their heads,” he said. “People want housing time, but we need to make sure it’s affordable and worth it for the family.”
For Harper, although he wants the process to be easy to navigate and he gets help quickly, in the end he is happy that the program exists.
“They never thought I was small,” Harper said. “I hope I applied sooner.”
This article is part of the California Divide, a collaboration between newsrooms examining income inequality and economic survival in California.