CityServe awarded Senate honor

Sen. Shannon Grove hands Nonprofit of the Year award to Bakersfield-based CityServe for helping landlords, renters with application

SACRAMENTO – State Senator Shannon Grove honored Bakersfield-based CityServe for all of their heavy lifting through the pandemic in 2020, last month.

“Kern County is blessed by the leadership in our hardworking non-profit organizations such as CityServe and by the thousands of volunteers they have gathered to serve fellow members of their community,” Senator Grove (R-Bakersfield) said. “CityServe is making a tremendous impact by empowering local churches to provide for their neighborhoods, by sharing hope, resources and any necessities they need to thrive.”

CityServe is a collaborative network of churches and community leaders connected to help those in need live better lives. CityServe empowers the local church to fulfill its purpose to overcome despair and transform lives by resourcing them with tangible goods and capacity building.

“Receiving this award is both amazing and humbling. It has been such a privilege to be able to position more local churches to meet the growing needs in our community in 2020,” Robin Robinson, Community Development and Church Engagement Director, CityServe said. “We know it takes a collaborative effort to impact our community on a greater level and we are honored to play a part in it.”

CityServe made some of their largest contribution after Gov. Newsom sighted Senate Bill 91 into law that extended the state’s COVID-19 Tenant Relief Act through June 30, 2021.

Landlords were allowed to be reimbursed for 80% of past due rent accrued between April 1, 2020 and March 31, 2021, if they agree to waive the remaining 20% of unpaid rent. Eligible renters whose landlords chose not to participate could still apply on their own and receive 25% of unpaid rent accrued between April 1, 2020, and March 31, 2021, through a direct payment to their landlord.

If a landlord refused direct payment, the 25% can be paid to the renter to pay missed rent to their landlord by June 30, 2021. Paying 25% of past due rent by June 30, 2021 could help keep renters in their homes under the extended eviction protections provided in SB 91. Eligible renters can also receive help paying future rent, equal to 25% of their monthly amount to help them stay in their homes, and 100% of up to 12 months of unpaid or future utility bills. Funds are distributed on a first come, first serve basis.

As the application were be a bit daunting to complete, CityServe partnered with the rent relief program to provide assistance to those who wanted to apply. Through their Eviction Prevention Starting Point program, individuals who are experiencing financial hardship can start the process of receiving rent relief by requesting an application appointment at

CityServe representatives were trained on California’s Rental Assistance Payment Program so they could explain the process, outline required documents, schedule the application appointment, and be the helping hand needed so individuals can keep their homes.

“No one should lose their home because of the effects of the pandemic,” Karl Hargestam, executive director of CityServe Network said. “The process to get assistance can be complicated and overwhelming, so we make it easy by guiding them at the starting point so they get on the path to stay in their homes.”

As a partner with the program, CityServe assisted applicants in Tulare, Kings, Napa, Placer and Butte counties.

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