CityServe lends help to renters, landlords

Jermaine Johnson II

Local nonprofit launches program to help renters and landlords negatively affected by pandemic to apply for financial assistance

CENTRAL VALLEY – A local nonprofit is doing their part to help those negatively affected by the ongoing pandemic. As residents across the valley continue to struggle financially, CityServe is helping renters and landlords apply for rent assistance through California’s Rental Assistance Payment Program.

Applications for the government program opened last Monday, March 15 after Gov. Gavin Newsom signed into law SB 91 on Jan. 29, 2021. It also extends the state’s COVID-19 Tenant Relief Act through June 30, 2021.

Landlords can get 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 choose not to participate may 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 refuses 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 can help keep renters in their homes under the extended eviction protections provided in SB91. 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.

Residents must apply online at housingiskey.com. Eligible residents include those behind on rent or those who have experienced financial hardship due to the ongoing pandemic. As the application may be a bit daunting to complete, CityServe has partnered with the rent relief program to provide assistance to those who want to apply. Through their Eviction Prevention Starting Point program which launched last Monday, individuals who are experiencing financial hardship can start the process of receiving rent relief by requesting an application appointment at www.cityservenetwork.com/evictionprevention.

CityServe representatives have been trained on California’s Rental Assistance Payment Program so they will 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 is assisting applicants in Tulare, Kings, Napa, Placer and Butte Counties. The first application appointment happened last Wednesday, March 17 at Rise Church in Visalia. The next will be today, March 24 at Seven Oaks Church in Visalia from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. with more in the future.

Residents must sign up for an appointment online but if they’re unable to do so, an enroller at the church can help them set up a future appointment.

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