The Board of Supervisors Tuesday authorized continuation of the Riverside County Emergency Rental Assistance Program, with $61.63 million in additional funds now available to aid residents impacted by coronavirus public health lockdowns that left them struggling to pay their bills.
In a 5-0 vote without comment, the board directed the county Department of Housing, Homelessness Prevention & Workforce Solutions to accept the federal allocation, disbursed under the state’s COVID-19 Rental Relief Program.
As part of the re-authorization of the county’s rental assistance policy, established in June 2020, HHPWS will maintain agreements with Riverside-based nonprofit United Way of Inland Southern California, also known as “Inland SoCal 211,” and Palm Desert-based nonprofit Lift to Rise.
They will remain administrators of the rental assistance program.
The renewed program, however, will include changes mandated by Assembly Bill 832, including an end to the condition that only 80% of past unpaid rent qualify for coverage. Aid recipients may also be eligible for payments to cover past-due and pending utility bills.
There is also an eviction prevention component that involves the Riverside County Superior Court.
Earlier this year, the board accepted $57.26 million in direct federal grants for the county’s Emergency Rental Assistance Program. The original $33 million in Coronavirus Aid, Relief & Economic Security Act money that went into the program was received in May 2020.
Any resident who does not earn over 80% of the county’s annual household median income of $44,250 is eligible to apply for assistance. However, priority will be given to those households in which earnings are less than 50% of the median, and where one or more members of the home has been left unemployed, according to Lift to Rise and United Way.
Applicants for relief will have to present documentation of financial impacts that occurred anytime between March 13, 2020, and now.
Funds are generally paid to landlords, covering tenants who are in arrears.