Renters Receive Funding Assistance From County

Renters Receive Funding Assistance From County

Nico Payne

The average home price in the Coachella Valley sits at more than $400,000, but that market is not accessible to everyone. and that strain on the housing market is affecting renters. Rent is now also out of reach for many people, especially those earning minimum wage.

In June $3.7 million dollars was allocated to help around 2400 households in Riverside County. Now renters will have a chance for more relief, as Riverside County has set up a $33 million dollar relief fund to help people who are struggling to pay rent.

“A few hundreds of thousands of households in Riverside County have filed for unemployment as a result of COVIDcovid-19. About 40% of workers nationwide who have earned less than $40,000 annually have reported a job loss during this pandemic,” said Heidi Marshall, Director of Housing and Homeless Services for Riverside County.” 

Local leaders stress that this crisis is not unique to Coachella Valley, and before coronavirus…

“Two out of three renters in the Coachella Valley were housing cost burden, meaning that they were spending more than a third of their income on rent. and what we see now during COVID is really an economic collapse where so many folks who were spending the bulk of their income on their homes and on rent are really struggling to be able to stay in their homes,” explained Heather Vaikona, CEO of Lift to Rise.

The fund is the largest per capita contribution of a county to renters, but The Fair Housing Council of Riverside County is calling it a short term fix.

“Really what these funds are for is to help people get caught up on their rent. There’s a lot of people that are not going to get that assistance and one of the things we’re concerned about in light of the COVIDcovid-19 epidemic is if you don’t qualify for that assistance to bring you to rent current, were going to have even more people who are homeless because they are not going to be able to pay all that back rent and pay their current rent once all the eviction moratoriums are fully lifted,” said Nathan Cieszynski, Program Manager of The Fair Housing Council of Riverside County.

County leaders acknowledge that the fund assistance is not a long term fix and anticipate provide more funding.

“Yes, there are resources that are available right now. are they going to solve all the problems that we face, absolutely not,” added Vaikona.

For more information on how to apply for the fund assistance, you can dial 2-1-1 or visit https://www.unitedlift.org/