FRESNO, California (KSEE) – Fresno received $15.8 million in federal funding, separate from the CARES Act, for a new Emergency Rental Assistance program to help people who have fallen behind on rent or utilities during the pandemic.
“It really is somewhat of a joint application from the tenant and the landlord so that two things can happen: the landlord can be made whole, and secondly, that we can have proof that that tenant is being relieved of that debt,” said Fresno Mayor Jerry Dyer.
The program was announced Wednesday. By Thursday, the mayor’s office said dozens of Fresno residents had already reached out to ask how they can apply.
The mayor’s office said the qualifications are based on the federal government’s regulations.
“The tenant has to be of a certain income level, there has to be proof of the fact that they are behind in rent or utilities,” said Dyer. “All of that data has to be captured by us because we’ll be subject to being audited by the U.S. treasury department.”
Dyer said verifying all that information will be an extensive process.
The mayor’s office is also working with Fresno City Council to come up with a plan to distribute the funds, which could start in the coming weeks.
Although this program may help some people who are behind on rent, a COVID-19 addiction moratorium is still in effect nationwide.
The moratorium was set to expire on Jan. 31, but shortly after being sworn into office, President Biden signed an executive order extending it until March 31 – delaying evictions and foreclosures until then.