California expands COVID-19 rent relief, local tenant grateful for help

More financial help is coming to renters and landlords struggling to make ends meet because of the pandemic.

Posted: Sep 17, 2021 6:46 PM

CHICO, Calif. - California expanded its COVID-19 rent relief program. With the expansion, 100% of the financial assistance can cover unpaid rent and utilities dating back to April 1, 2020.

Jessica Burns, a local tenant living at Murphy Commons Apartments, has already received help through the program and is grateful that the relief is being expanded.

Burns says this summer she needed some help with money.

“When my income was going lower, I found out about the program, and I was able to sign up and it was able to help me and my daughter stay in our apartment,” said Burns.

Income-eligible renters or landlords who have already received funding through the rent relief program may be eligible for more help.

They can be compensated the difference to receive 100% coverage.

Burns says when she first applied, she was skeptical, but glad everything worked out.

“I didn’t think I was gonna be able to make rent, and I wasn’t, but with the program, they came in and saved the day, and it’s something I’m very grateful for,” said Burns.

The property manager at Murphy Commons, Steve Karnowski, says four tenants have applied for COVID-19 rent relief so far, and that the financial assistance has been a tremendous help.

“Our tenants are faced with circumstances that could cause them to, otherwise, lose their home and this rental relief program bridges that gap and also provided us with the continued finances to operate this community,” said Karnowski.

Karnowski also says they have another plan available, separate from the state’s rent relief program, to help tenants pay outstanding rent in installments.

The California COVID-19 rent relief program does not count as earned income for renters.

The program also doesn’t affect eligibility for other state benefit assistance programs. such as CalFresh and CalWORKS.

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