California’s eviction moratorium officially ended Thursday night, but renters inside Fresno’s city limits remain protected.
In addition, the city’s COVID-19 rent relief program will continue to assist anyone unable to pay rent and utilities until tens of millions of dollars are exhausted.
Moreover, Fresno County renters outside the city can protect themselves from eviction by signing up for the Emergency Rental Assistance Program. Those who have registered already are protected.
“Eligible tenants that complete an application with the program may be protected from an eviction for non-payment of rent,” said Nur Kausar, spokesman for the state Department of Housing and Development. “This is why it is so vitally important that people understand that the rent relief program is actively accepting applications.”
City Has Ample Rental Assistance Funds
The city of Fresno has received a total of $42.8 million in ERAP funding of which $12 million had been dispersed as of Thursday for past rent and utilities.
City Hall also will take in another $21.8 million in ERAP’s second phase.
Courtney Espinoza, program implementation manager for the city, says that while Fresno is set to receive a significant amount of money, the expectation is that all of the money will be used.
“The City and its partners are working diligently every day to get this funding out to those that need it,” said Espinoza. “We are in line to meet the milestone requirements of the program, so we do not anticipate this to be an issue at all.”
Fresno Extends Eviction Moratorium
With so much funding, the city has gone an extra step by extending its moratorium.
That means anyone who was unable to pay 100% of their rent for the past 18 months won’t run the risk of eviction — even if they have not yet signed up for the program. And, those in the program will continue to receive rent and utility assistance.
City officials strongly encourage anyone needing rental assistance to apply for funding as soon as possible.
According to Fresno Mayor Jerry Dyer, the moratorium will remain as long as the city’s pandemic emergency declaration is in place. That declaration is based on local coronavirus infection data.
Chris Montelongo, the mayor’s deputy chief of staff, told GV Wire that Dyer doesn’t anticipate lifting the moratorium until after the end of this year.
ERAP Funding Protects Against Evictions
Although eviction protections have changed, Kausar urges tenants who are eligible for rent relief to apply for ERAP.
Kausar says they have additional funds available to distribute for months to come. Starting Friday, landlords cannot seek eviction of tenants who are eligible for the ERAP program. However, any tenant owing rent as of Oct. 1 will have to show they have applied for rent relief.
Eviction protections are changing on October 1st. To reduce the risk of eviction, eligible #renters should apply for the CA COVID-19 #RentRelief program. Get 100% of rent and utilities paid to protect yourself from eviction. Apply at https://t.co/kAk9AKVW5y or call 833-430-2122. pic.twitter.com/iZajoA8NUl
— HousingIsKey (@HousingIsKey) September 29, 2021
Fresno County Social Services program manager Laura Moreno says ERAP funding is not necessarily tied to the eviction moratorium. Therefore, most people should not be too worried about it ending because they can still apply for funding and be protected from eviction.
“Whether there’s a moratorium or not, we can still help people pay their rent,” said Moreno. “It’s either their back rent or it could be prospective rent and also utilities and prospective utilities.”
Under shield laws, any tenant who has paid at least 25% of their rent between Sept. 1, 2020, and Sept. 3, 2021, and have applied for ERAP funding will not be able to be evicted.
If a landlord insists on moving forward with an eviction notice, tenants who are currently pending approval or have a copy of their application for COVID-19 related financial distress form cannot be evicted.
Struggling Fresno city and county renters who haven’t applied for emergency assistance should do so immediately, officials say. (Shutterstock)
Who is Eligible for Rent Relief?
With ERAP, those who make less than 80% of the median income, were negatively affected by COVID-19 and were unable to pay their full amount of rent and utilities from April 1, 2020, to Sept. 30, 2021, are eligible for funding up to 100%.
A family of four living in Fresno can qualify if their annual earnings are less than $55,570. For calculations on income limits per family household numbers, visit huduser.
For those worried about applying for assistance without citizenship, those without documentation are eligible under California’s COVID-19 assistance program.
While money from ERAP round one is quickly being distributed, residents of the city of Fresno and the county’s outlying communities have until Sept. 30, 2022, to apply for ERAP funds. The second round of ERAP funding is intended to help renters through September 2025.
The CA COVID-19 Rent Relief program will NOT end on 9/30. Applications are being accepted on an ongoing basis until funds are exhausted. Eligible renters & landlords can still apply to receive 100% of unpaid rent and utilities. https://t.co/AcTDUGqWFa or call 833-430-2122. pic.twitter.com/bMHoWhXqr4
— Anna Caballero (@CASenCaballero) September 30, 2021
ERAP Application Process
To start, a tenant applying for ERAP funding will have to show either a 2020 tax return, a W-2 tax form or a 1099G unemployment form, current pay stubs, or proof of participation in a state or federal subsidy programs, such as CalFresh or CalWORKS.
For those seeking help with utility bills, a copy of a utility invoice or statements for any unpaid utility, water, trash, and internet bills after April 1, 2020, is also required.
For landlords seeking assistance, a lease or rental agreement reflecting renter’s name, address, and monthly rent due or a rent ledger or rent statement showing the balance of unpaid rent from April 1, 2020, as well as a W-8 or W-9 form is required.
However, not having any of those documents, does not mean you can’t apply as long as you provide proof of identification according to California’s Housing is Key program.
Application Links for City of Fresno Residents:
City residents can apply for rent relief by visiting era.fresno.gov
Contact Community Organizations Assisting with COVID-19 Rent Relief in the City of Fresno
- Reading and Beyond: (559) 214-0317
- The Fresno Center: (559) 898-2565
- Centro La Familia: (559) 237-2961
- Education & Leadership Foundation: (559) 291-5428
- Jakara Movement: (559) 549-4088
- West Fresno Family Resource Center: (559) 621-2967
Other Application Links
County residents outside the city of Fresno can apply by visiting fresnorentalhelp.com.
Residents can send their application forms by mail to RH Community Builders Attn: ERAP, 2550 W Clinton Ave #142, Fresno, CA 93705, or by email at email@example.com. For any questions, call (559) 515-4700.
Here are the application form links for landlords to download in English.
Lastly, here is the application form link for the Declaration of COVID-19 Related Financial Distress in English.