Fresno city leaders proposing Eviction Protection Program

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- Californians currently facing financial hardship due to the pandemic are protected from eviction as long as they pay part of their rent and have provided proper paperwork.

But those protections are set to run out at the end of June.

Tuesday, councilmembers Nelson Esparza and Tyler Maxwell introduced a new plan to help renters if the moratorium is not extended by the governor.

"If and when that moratorium is lifted, we have the infrastructure in place to begin assisting those families immediately," Maxwell said.

Under the proposed Eviction Protection Program, the city would provide outside legal services to families and individuals facing unlawful eviction.

The plan officials say will help safeguard the city's most vulnerable tenants at a time when they are anticipating a wave of evictions.

"This will come into play and prevent those individuals from being evicted who have legitimate hardships because of the pandemic directly or indirectly," Esparza said.

EPP will be open to Fresno residents -- with the city attorney's office making the determination whether or not an eviction is legal.

How much the program will cost and how the city plans to pay for it is still a bit unclear. But council members hope to use federal stimulus dollars

"While we're still waiting on clarity for the best and proper way to spend out $170 million in American Rescue Plan funds from the Biden Administration, we just want to bring forth framework at this point," Maxwell said.

If the proposal passes this Thursday, the city will begin building the framework to aid those facing potential unlawful eviction.

As part of Tuesday's announcement, city leaders also introduced plans to strengthen the city's rental inspection program.
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