The expiration of the moratorium on evictions in California and threats from heads of state that hundreds of millions of dollars left in rental assistance programs could soon be retracted if not dispersed at a faster rate, Pasadena’s public and private agencies are working to improve accessibility in the local area – and officials think they’ve found a way.
California’s deportation ban ended earlier this week, leaving millions of residents at risk of losing their homes as landlords go through the legal process to evict non-paying tenants.
It is not yet known how many local families will be threatened with eviction in the coming weeks, but more than 1,500 Pasadena households have applied for California’s COVID-19 Rent Relief Program since its inception, according to the state dashboard. Only 688 were served on Monday, September 27, the date of the last update of the document.
Pasadena Mayor Victor Gordo admitted a day after the update – during the city’s legislative policy committee meeting – that he had heard from officials in the state’s Department of Housing and Community Development say that nearly 4,000 households within Pasadena boundaries were eligible for some form of rent relief.
“Having said that,” lobbyist Kyra Ross added at the meeting, “the White House was concerned that the money really didn’t come out fast enough and that there was a question whether the White House may or may not try to withdraw some of that money if California continues not to release it quickly enough.
The news is particularly troubling for housing advocates as more than $ 330 million remains earmarked for rent assistance in California, according to a state audit in September.
“For some reason people just don’t know the money is there” Pasadena Housing Manager William Huang said in an interview this week, reiterating that Pasadena residents are safe from eviction and still eligible to apply for programs, such as the COVID-19 Rent Relief Program.
In fact, Huang encouraged anyone concerned that they might be affected by the city’s moratorium expiring in March 2022 to submit an application.
“In Pasadena, almost all of the applications that have been submitted have already been deemed complete,” Huang said at Tuesday’s legislative committee meeting, “so there should be a lot more of this rent assistance for households in Pasadena. “
Michelle White, Executive Director of Affordable Housing Services, a Pasadena nonprofit, agreed that it is essential that families in Pasadena receive the help they desperately need. However, she has also heard about the snail speed process, just as others have in recent weeks. And she witnesses the consequences firsthand.
“People are at an impasse and what they’re doing is moving,” White said. “So I envision a more racially, ethnically and economically homogeneous city if we don’t do something to ensure that those who live and work in Pasadena – especially workers in the service sector – get the help they want.” need to keep their home for the long term. “
Because municipalities are extension of emergency moratoria Six months at a time, White said many residents feel unstable, “because they can’t plan beyond six months.” Think about what this means for families with children in school.
Eviction is also not the only problem, according to White, who said rent increases are also a concern for a workforce that does not receive pay increases at a commensurate rate.
These are just a few of the reasons why she thinks the city should respond to the low number of requests for rental assistance with an information campaign similar to the recent push to vote.
“There’s a lot of things at risk at this point, and I think it’s happening very quickly,” White said, noting that she hasn’t discussed the east.sue anyone on the board.
Gordo already appears to be on the same page, stating in an interview on Friday that he agrees with White, which is why he’s started talks with U.S. Rep Judy Chu, D-Pasadena and HUD to bring assistance programs, so seniors, people without Wi-Fi, and anyone else who needs help with an app can find it at home, in their parks and community libraries.
“Times of crisis require a deliberative and practical approach,” Gordo said, “and in this case, that means getting staff to seek out those 4,000 households and help them with technology and any other need that will translate into hardship. Rent relief dollars available come to Pasadena residents to help them stay housed.
The plans are still being finalized, but Huang said on Tuesday that the city had filed an application with Local Initiatives Support Corp., an organization that helps public and private agencies cooperate for the greater good, and now those in charge are waiting for a response.
Gordo said he intended to follow up personally to encourage “we’re starting this partnership now because we don’t know when the dollars will run out.”
Huang and White both encouraged residents not to wait to seek help online at housing.ca.gov/covid_rr/ or by phone by dialing 833-430-2122.
“If you qualify,” Huang said, “then apply immediately. “