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Tenant advocacy group calls for expansion of California rental assistance program


California Emergency Rental Assistance is due to expire March 31, and tenancy advocates across the state are calling for an extension of the program to avoid evictions.

Ramon Toscano is a ACCE San Diego member who rents a two-bedroom apartment in Vista with his wife and six children.

“What will happen on the first of April? I’m going to have a note on the door that says, “You have three days to leave,” Toscano said in Spanish. “We don’t know what to do, so the uncertainty is growing with each passing day. This stresses you out more and more, because what can you do?

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the Housing NOW! California Coalition Calls on Heads of State to extend the application period and coverage for tenants for housing assistance until the end of August.

Consuelo Martinez is a member of the Escondido City Council who supports the extension. She said Spanish-speaking residents in her district face additional hurdles in knowing their rights as tenants.

“I am very concerned about this tsunami of evictions and the displacement of our residents and I want to do everything in my power to help. I call on our state elected officials to take action, we must protect our residents,” Martinez said.

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Head of Communications Nur Kausar of California Housing and Community Development sent a statement to KPBS which reads:

“The CA COVID-19 Rent Relief application portal closes after March 31. At this point, no new applications will be accepted, but the program will continue to process and pay all eligible applicants who submit a completed application by March 31, 2022. The program will continue to operate until all complete applications received are processed and all eligible applicants have been paid.

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A recent study from the National Equity Atlas, Western Center on Law & Poverty and Housing Now found that about two-thirds of applicants for the state’s rent relief program are still waiting for help.

“My wife and I, well, we would live in the car,” Toscano describes, if his family were to be deported. “But you’re not going to put six kids in a car, no way.”

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Tenant rights leaders who spoke at Tuesday’s online event said there are links between negative health consequences and those who are evicted. More importantly, they pointed out that evictions can lead to homelessness.