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Billions of dollars are still available in California to pay off pending rent and utilities

A for rent sign in Hillcrest
Posted at 12:23 PM, Sep 10, 2021
and last updated 2021-09-10 15:23:51-04

California residents who are having a hard time paying off their rent and utilities can still apply to the Housing is Key program intended to support families affected by COVID-19.

Renters and landlords who apply can get compensated for up to 100% of unpaid rent dating back to April 1, 2020.

The program is part of the California Come Back Plan and has $5.2 billion to cover rent and $2 billion for past-due water and utility bills.

The state has received 218,241 applications so far, which adds up $1,963,691,520.

So far, about 3,000 households in both San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara counties have submitted an application.

With billions of dollars still available, organizations such as 5Cities Homeless Coalition are reaching out to the community to make sure people know they can still apply.

“It is to give you free money to help you with this challenge. It is not a loan, it is a grant. It is intended to pay your past rent. The check is going to your landlord, but he or she will attest that this is paid in full,” said Janna Nichols, 5Cities Homeless Coalition Executive Director.

Among the paperwork tenants will need are one of the following for rent assistance:

  • 2020 Tax Return
  • 2020 W2 and 1099G if the applicant was unemployed
  • Pay stubs
  • Proof of participation in a state or federal program such as CalFresh or CalWORKS

Landlords will need all of these documents:

  • Lease or rental agreement
  • Rent statement showing the balance of unpaid rent from April 1, 2020
  • W-8 or W-9.

For grants related to utility bills, the renter must submit unpaid bills.

It is important to apply before Sept. 30, 2021, to be eligible for eviction protections. However, money will be available beyond that deadline, and it can also help pay off future rent or utilities.

To avoid being evicted after that date, tenants have to pay at least 25% of what they owe to their landlord.

If you need assistance in this process you can contact 5Cities Homeless Coalition at (805( 574-1638 or apply directly at Housing is Key.