Emergency rental assistance sees slow rollout in Fresno as eviction ban extended

Local News

FRESNO, Calif. (KGPE) – On Tuesday, the Centers for Disease Control extended the federal ban on evictions until Oct. 3. California currently has an eviction moratorium until Sept. 30.

The U.S. Congress has approved over $46 billion dollars for states and local governments to distribute for emergency rental assistance, but it is widely reported only a fraction of that money has been used.

The City of Fresno’s emergency rental assistance fund has $35 million in state and federal grant money available for emergency rental assistance, according to the city’s website. Gina Swearington, the landlord at  Cedar Commons Apartments in Fresno, says the process to help one of her tenants has been slow.

“We filed everything in March and then, of course, they keep extending and extending and extending (the eviction moratorium), and then that puts us more behind on the money that the resident owes,” Swearington said.

Swearington says while not getting the rent owed immediately is frustrating, she says without this program, she wouldn’t be able to cover necessary expenses in the complex. But, she is also glad her resident is getting help.

“It would’ve put us in a bind,” she said. “I’m very fortunate to only have one resident in that category.”

At the regional level, Fresno County has received about $27 million according to Katie Wilbur, Executive Director of RH Community Builders. Her organization is in charge of administering emergency rental assistance in the county.

“The program actually started off fairly slow, we were surprised at the lack of applications,” Wilbur said.

Wilbur says the program has been taking applications since March, and only $5 million has been distributed so far. She says even after the eviction moratorium ends, renters will still be protected if their application is pending.

“Whether the landlord has received the funds or not, if they have applied for assistance, they would remain protected from eviction as well.”

If you live within Fresno city limits, you can apply for rental assistance through the city. If you live anywhere else in Fresno County, you will apply through RH Community Builders.

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