Fresno receives $15.8 million to cover overdue rent for tenants and landlords

The money will go to landlords who haven't been able to collect rent during the COVID-19 pandemic.
FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- Hundreds of Fresno families could stave off evictions thanks to the latest round of federal stimulus money.

The city got $15.8 million on Wednesday, earmarked for emergency rental assistance.

The purpose of the new round of funding is specifically to make sure landlords get paid for overdue rent.

"One of the things we've been anticipating is just a wave of evictions that are going to occur once that moratorium is lifted," said Fresno City Council President Luis Chavez.

The money will go to those Chavez calls 'mom and pop landlords', who haven't been able to collect rent during the COVID-19 pandemic.

"There's a perception out there that landlords are just these wealthy individuals and they are not," said Chavez. "We are going to work to make sure that we can help those folks but at the same time keep those tenants in their dwellings."

Chavez said 80% of local proprietors are small operators who rent out less than five dwellings.

"They still have to pay for the maintenance. They still have to pay for their insurance and every cost that really goes along with the property," said Chavez.

As the owner of a property management company, Jim Armstrong sees the struggle from both renters and the landlords counting on the income.

"They believe that their rent may be waived because there's a moratorium on evictions and that's simply not the case," said Armstrong.

He encouraged renters he works with to seek out help so they don't fall behind on payments that they will eventually owe.

Rental assistance can be found through organizations like the Education and Leadership Foundation.

"We have been able to help people for up to $4,500 in assistance and sometimes more," Raul Moreno, who works with the foundation, said. "A lot of people come in with five or six months of past due rent or past due PG&E bills and they are desperate."

For more information on assistance through the Education and Leadership Foundation, click here.

The federal moratorium on evictions was extended on Wednesday on President Joe Biden's first day in office and is now set to expire in March.

Fresno city leaders said they hope that by next week, they will have established parameters on who can qualify for the new emergency rental assistance program.
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