California eviction moratorium and state rent assistance both ending

SAN JOSE, Calif. (KGO) – Any renter in California who has been unable to pay rent since April will be in danger of being evicted by the end of June.

The state agency which runs the rental assistance program says it will only cover unpaid rents through March 31 of this year. That’s bad news for anyone still unable to pay their landlord.

Prem Valverde and her husband Gilbert have not been able to pay the rent since the fall, when Gilbert suffered a stroke while in the hospital recovering from COVID-19.

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They are two of 208,000 people who are still waiting for their application to be processed for rental assistance.

Unfortunately, the state says it will only pay the rent for the months prior to the application deadline of March 31.

“My whole world went upside down. My husband is the sole provider,” Prem said. “I mean what can you imagine if that person that takes care of your whole family is in the hospital and might die?”

Lorraine Lopez, from the Western Center for Law & Poverty, explains the situation.

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“So folks are now being left, pretty much being in the cold once the application closed,” Lopez said.

Her group has filed a lawsuit on behalf of tenant rights advocates, saying the state is violating the law by not providing up to a full 18 months of rental assistance.

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“If they have not yet exhausted their 18 months of assistance, they should still be allowed to receive all of that 18 months of assistance even if it extends beyond March 31, 2022,” Lopez said.

Community Housing and Development stands by its decision. It told 7 On Your Side, “This program was designed to be a temporary support and we stand by the work to date that kept Californians housed during the COVID-19 pandemic.”

Lopez says those unable to pay their rent since April could face eviction when the moratorium expires on June 30.

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“They have few options, unfortunately, and that’s one of the things that we’ve been prognosticating since the beginning of the pandemic,” Lopez said. “Once protections actually expired, that, this is when the eviction cliff was going to come.”

The tenant rights groups behind the lawsuit agains the state are Alliance for Californians for Community Empowerment and Strategic Actions for a Just Economy. Those facing eviction are advised to seek help through legal aid groups in their community or from the Department of Social Services.

Take a look at more stories and videos by Michael Finney and 7 On Your Side.

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