Millions in renter assistance available; Housing Authority urges renters not to wait

Local News

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) — There are millions of dollars up for grabs in Kern County for tenants behind on rent and utility payments because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Housing Authority is encouraging those behind on rent to apply before it’s too late. Kern County received more than $78 million from the pair of federal bills passed with hopes of extending a hand to anyone who fell behind on their rent.

“Don’t wait until the end of September when the moratorium lifts, let us assist you,” Heather Kimmel with the Kern County Housing Authority said.

In less than two weeks the only shield protecting renters behind on rent will be lifted.

“There is still quite a bit of money in assistance, we are strongly encouraging everyone to continue to apply if they need it,” Kimmel said.

On Tuesday, The board of supervisors accepted over $14 million dollars in federal funds to go directly to Kern renters and landlords. Wednesday afternoon, the City of Bakersfield approved an extra $22 million dollars.

To qualify, you must have a copy of a lease or rental agreement, proof of income, and a statement from your landlord stating how much rent you owe. A self-attestation form will be required if you can’t provide specific documentation. The application approval process takes up to 14 days. Once approved, payouts will be sent to landlords in 3 to 5 days. In some cases, funds do go to tenants who then have 15 days to pay their back rent.

“We’re going to get payments out as fast as we can,” Kimmel said. “What we often see is that people are applying multiple times, which we encourage you not to do.”

Applications go thru multiple filters to ensure that there are no double-payouts. An important note, legal status is not a requirement to qualify for this program.

“Program will continue to operate until one of two things happens: we’ve distributed all of the funding and there is no longer funds to assist families with or if we’ve reached the end date of the funding obligation.”

If you have any questions, visit rup.kernha.org.

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