California’s COVID-19 rent relief program has surpassed $3 billion in dispersed funding to more than 275,000 households, state officials said this week.
The state has distributed $3.1 billion in rent and utility assistance payments to households across the state that have lost income due to the COVID pandemic, more than any other state in the country, according to state Business, Consumer Services and Housing Secretary Lourdes Castro Ramirez.
Funding for the program came from the 2021 American Rescue Plan Act. The state closed applications for the program March 31, with statewide eviction protections remaining in place for those with unfulfilled applications.
“The state’s rent relief program has been a critical component of California’s COVID-19 response and would not have been possible without the federal funding we have received and the close partnership with local jurisdictions and community-based organizations,” Castro Ramirez said in a statement.
According to Castro Ramirez, hundreds of local organizations helped the program reach underserved areas and assisted with the completion of more than 178,000 applications.
Both landlords and renters were eligible for the program. Relief funds are paid directly to the person or organization to whom the outstanding payment is owed.
In total, nearly 475,000 households applied to the program, according to data from the rent relief program.
“This program has been a vital resource for Californians impacted by COVID-19 and we know there is more work to be done to address the housing instability impacting many Californians,” Castro Ramirez said.