Emergency rental assistance still available for Fresno residents

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- As the economy continues to show signs of recovery from the pandemic, a number of families are still struggling to pay rent and fear losing their homes -- but assistance is available.

"We've given out about $4.5 million in support and this is all so that families don't end up homeless," says Director of Special Projects and Public Relations for the Fresno Center Cheri Cruz.

The Fresno Center is an organization that receives money from the City of Fresno to assist families economically challenged by the impact of COVID-19.

According to Cruz, the Fresno Center has provided 600 families with services since the pandemic began -- with plenty more in need.

"Our concern is we have, right now, about 100 applicants that are in line waiting to be served," Cruz said. "So we're just hoping this doesn't end."

But the federally funded Emergency Rental Assistance Program is set to expire at the end of March and could leave individuals like Fresno resident Jessica Ramirez without a place to live.

"An eviction on your record is going to be on there for seven years and we can't afford that as a family," he said. "This is what causes homelessness."

Despite the approaching deadline, officials remain optimistic that the program will be renewed.

"I don't want anyone to stop applying if they have heard that this program could come to an end," Cruz said. "A lot of programs, we hear that news and then continued funding keeps happening and so far, we've been very lucky to be one of those recipients."

Officials recommend families contact community organizations such as the Fresno Center for guidance on how to apply.

"If anyone has not been able to pay their rent, this goes back to April of 2020, if they're behind in their rent three months or longer, they can contact us and we'll walk them through all the technicalities," Cruz said. "If you can't pay your rent, you're getting behind, you're getting eviction notices, give us a call and we're here to help you."

You can call 559-255-8395 for assistance.

According to officials, qualified families will receive funds within weeks.
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