City of Fresno working to help residents struggling to pay rent

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- The City of Fresno has $35 million at its disposal to assist those struggling to pay their rent.

The city will have pay for a year in back pay for late rent, three months of future rent, utilities and internet bills, officials said.

When the pandemic hit and thousands of residents began losing their jobs, Fresno City leaders knew aid for renters would be critical.

The city's rental assistance program is funded with federal COVID dollars.

So far, 800 families impacted by the coronavirus have had their rent paid by the city for a total of about $3 million.

"The purpose of this program is quite frankly to make sure that our most vulnerable residents can keep roofs over their head," said Fresno Mayor Jerry Dyer.

More than 85,000 units are rented in Fresno, with at least 8,000 households at risk of losing their homes.

Billboards in multiple languages recently went up across the city to help get the word out about the new program.

Arias says the advertisements are in parts of the city with high eviction rates and where people were significantly impacted by the pandemic.
"We're intentionally putting them out in English, Spanish, Hmong and Punjabi to make sure everybody understands if they're eligible, they should apply," said Arias.

The city saw 14,000 households apply in the program's first week. Most Fresno renters impacted by the pandemic and unable to pay their full rent and utilities are eligible.

"If you're a family of four and you make less than $80,000, you're eligible. If you're a family of one and you make about $20,000, you're eligible," according to Arias.

The city's rental assistance program comes just as California's eviction moratorium is set to expire on June 30th.

"We know there is going to be quite a bit of people who are going to face eviction because of past due rent. This is the opportunity for those individuals to be made completely whole to help pay that rent and to avoid eviction," said Arias.

The funding process takes about 30 days. For more information, visit their website.

EDITOR'S NOTE: A previous version of this story said that the City of Fresno would pay unpaid cable bills. That was incorrect. We regret the error.
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