California’s rent relief program running short on money as deadlines approach

1/17/2022 5:06:00 PM

California’s rent relief program running short on money as deadlines approach

California’s rent relief program running short on money as deadlines approach

“People did everything they could to keep up. Now, it’s catching up with them,” said one San Jose housing official.

| UPDATED:January 17, 2022 at 6:20 a.m.California’s $5.2 billion pandemic rental relief fund is running out of money even as the pandemic deepens economic turmoil and tenant protections expire in March.Housing advocates have seen a steady demand in recent months for assistance to protect people from displacement or eviction. The state requested an additional $1.9 billion from the federal emergency rental assistance program to cover landlord and tenant debts, but last week received just $62 million in additional funds.

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m. | UPDATED: January 17, 2022 at 6:20 a. Whether the hot housing market is cooling — as some real-estate analysts have speculated — or not, millions of homeowners have already been burned by the property-tax spikes that accompanied their skyrocketing home values.m. 'Feeling useful and having a sense of purpose is very important' As a public accountant, O'Keefe qualified for the Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) program. California’s $5.4% in 2020, according to Attom Data Solutions.2 billion pandemic rental relief fund is running out of money even as the pandemic deepens economic turmoil and tenant protections expire in March. That may sound like a lot, but it’s actually about half the number on waiting lists, said Ted Lempert, a former state legislator who now heads Children Now.

Housing advocates have seen a steady demand in recent months for assistance to protect people from displacement or eviction.5%, on average, in 2021. Due to interest that kept accumulating, he paid off $60,000 and was still left with $20,338. The state requested an additional $1.9 billion from the federal emergency rental assistance program to cover landlord and tenant debts, but last week received just $62 million in additional funds. ESOP, or Empowering and Strengthening Ohio’s People, provides housing and financial counseling to aging adults. Aid requests from tenants and landlords have now hit $6. Now he was free to chase his dream.9 billion, according to state data.9% in January — the biggest jump in four decades — that’s not enough to help budget-strapped older adults satisfy soaring property-tax demands. The state is sitting on a massive $46-billion budget surplus, and even if lawmakers are cautious about committing to ongoing spending (and they should be), they could devote some one-time money to help child-care providers upgrade and expand their facilities so they can serve more children.

Officials say some of those requests will be ineligible or are duplicate applications that will be denied. Still, Oakland has started a waitlist, anticipating demand will exceed the fund’s resources. “Older adults, many already struggling to make ends meet as it was, are now facing these kinds of steep tax increases and finding it much harder to afford aging in their home. That helped him realize he didn't feel fulfilled from his job — but his student debt was holding him back from making any significant life changes. The state is still accepting applications. “It’s premature in this moment to know if we are over-subscribed,” said Geoffrey Ross, deputy director of the state department of housing and community development, “because we don’t know how much more funding we will receive. Antoinette Smith, ESOP’s counseling director, offers the tips that follow on how to avoid unfortunate outcomes.” State officials estimate they need an additional $2." Once O'Keefe found out he would not longer be footing a $600 monthly bill, he and his wife decided they had the financial security to pursue a run for office"to make a bigger impact and be more useful to more people," he said.

5 billion to cover upcoming demand.S. The federal government is expected to redistribute additional, unused funds this spring. But California’s tenant protections end in March, allowing landlords to resume evictions for nonpayment in most cities. HUD provides a map of approved agencies on its housing counseling page, or you can call the agency’s interactive voice system at (800) 569-4287 to locate a nearby office. Insider previously reported that reasons have joined the"Great Resignation" in 2021 include stress from the job and better pay, and it's raising standards for workers across the country. Housing and landlord advocates say the ever-lengthening pandemic has strained a system launched in March to stem evictions and keep families housed during the health crisis. “California will need significantly more funding from future federal reallocations in order to continue to meet the needs of low-income California renters impacted by COVID-19,” said Lourdes Castro Ramirez, the state’s Business, Consumer Services and Housing Agency secretary. She advised steering clear of mortgage counselors not approved by HUD because they “won’t have the same level of credentials” and “might have motives that are dubious at best.

The state will continue to focus relief toward the lowest income families and tenants facing displacement, she said. Tenants and landlords apply to state and local programs, and eligible, low-income renters can have up to 100% of their back rent paid to their landlord. Such homestead exemptions are available in many states but vary widely. Some may also qualify for payment of future rent. The state estimates the various programs have helped nearly 250,000 families and distributed about $2. Currently, in Ohio, disabled, low-income older residents can qualify for a $25,000 homestead exemption.5 billion to landlords.

The slow pace of payments has been an issue for the program since its inception. All homeowners in Florida, by contrast, are eligible for a homestead exemption of up to $50,000, but those 65 and over who meet certain income limits can claim an additional $50,000. After March 31, landlords will again be allowed to evict tenants for nonpayment in most cities, increasing pressure to make aid payments. Housing advocates are worried and landlords are restless. And the counselor can help clients see whether they qualify to apply for other home-related savings, such as financial assistance on energy bills. “We are very concerned,” said Debra Carlton, executive vice president of the California Apartment Association. “Millions of dollars have gone unpaid to tenants and owners. Ignoring the problem, however, will make it worse.

Many owners have received no rent for months. They cannot pay their taxes, mortgages and other expenses if the rent continues to go unpaid. The local government could also put a lien on the home and eventually force a sale.” Aid programs saw a surge of requests in October when some protections ended for tenants who did not apply for aid. Advocates say although the rapid spread of the omicron variant has not yet produced a spike of increased need, they expect it will as economic upheaval continues for many low-wage and frontline workers. “Before the bill is due, we want older adults or their caregivers to contact a HUD housing counseling agency and get in contact with a counselor who can help them understand what this bill means and the actions you need to take next. The Bay Area was slated to receive about $480 million in initial funding, distributed through a collection of city, county and state programs.

The state’s largest cities, including Los Angeles, San Jose, San Francisco and Oakland, ran their own programs with federal funds. But many taxing agencies provide programs in which homeowners, especially those experiencing financial hardship, can qualify for an installment arrangement and pay their property taxes off over time. In the Bay Area, Fremont and Santa Clara and Alameda counties also established local systems. The joint relief program administered by San Jose and Santa Clara County has received $185 million in requests for its $161 million fund, said Emily Hislop, San Jose housing policy and planning administrator. Paying $291 a month, Smith contends, is “a lot easier to digest” than paying half ($1,750) or even a quarter ($875) of a $3,500 tax bill all at once. Advocates have been referring some tenants to private charities. Demand has remained steady, with the greatest need coming from parts of San Jose and Gilroy. Smith said she is alarmed by recent data suggesting the use of payday loans by Americans age 62 and over has tripled in the past five years, with annual interest rates as high as 372%.

“People did everything they could to keep up,” Hislop said. “Now, it’s catching up with them. “They’re not able then to meet any of their other basic needs because they’re in this vicious payday-loan cycle.” Shola Olatoye, Oakland’s director of Housing and Community Development, said the East Bay program was averaging about 400 applications a week. It has received about $57 million in requests for its $32 million fund and started a waitlist last week. They are among the costliest mortgage-loan products, and, because interest is added to the loan each month — and homeowners are not making payments — the balance on reverse mortgages grows over time. “There’s a lot of need here in Oakland,” she said.

Safety net nonprofits have seen steady demand in recent months for food and clothing, allowing low-income families to put money toward rent. Also see: My wife and I have saved $775,000 for retirement and will pay off our mortgage in six years. “The reality is, people are still struggling in our high-cost region,” said Greg Kepferle, CEO of Catholic Charities of Santa Clara County. The agency has been conducting pop-up clinics for needy renters at food distribution sites, he said. Do: Be alert to scams Scammers don’t want to miss this golden opportunity to take advantage of tax-distressed older homeowners and might promise easy money or higher Social Security payments. The nonprofit has helped more than 1,000 families get rental assistance since April. Providing even temporary relief – two or three months rent – will go a long way toward preventing homelessness for many families, he said. Don’t wait for someone to come to you with a solution,” Billnitzer said.

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