Help was set to expire at the end of the month for those with rent concerns brought about by the pandemic. But now those facing any housing struggles can breathe a sigh of relief after some announcements from the governor today.
“The state of California has now agreed with the legislature to the largest and comprehensive renter protection deal in the United States,” Governor Gavin Newsom announced Friday.
Newsom said the state will cover 100 percent of any rent owed for Californians impacted by covid back to last April,all the way up to the new eviction moratorium date of September 30.
Housing uncertainty hits close to home for the CEO of the Bakersfield Homeless Center, Louis Gill who said the moratorium’s extension will keep people off the streets for now, but it’s not a long term solution.
“Individuals that have lost work, those that we haven’t reached out for prevention,” Gill said. “A significant number of individuals and families, when the moratorium is finally done, will find themselves in the process of being evicted.”
Even with this rental relief, homelessness continues to grow. The Bakersfield-Kern Regional Homeless Collaborative’s 2021 Point-in-Time count released a couple of months ago detailing that more than 2000 individuals experience homelessness in our community right now which is up from 2020's survey count of 1,580.
Homelessness is still a statewide issue as well, that governor Newsom says California is eager to tackle.
“It can be solved. We have vision, we have plan and now we have the resources, and again this resourceful mindset,” Governor Newsom said.
Newsom also announced Friday morning that the $12 billion dollar budget he proposed a couple of months ago to work toward housing the homeless is “poised to pass” and be signed next week.
Gill said that Kern County has less than a one percent vacancy rate. With that pressure, he added it’s taking twice as long, 2 to 3 months instead of a month to locate an affordable unit for a family. That’s why the extra housing would be extremely helpful.
“In the 21 years that I have been helping people get back into homes so that they can have a permanent place to live, I have never seen a market this tight,” Gill said. “So it’s hard for families and individuals to locate units because they are quite simply full.”
If you need help from the homeless center you can reach them at 211. Gill said they have people on the phone, ready and eager to help refer you to programs and resources to help prevent you from losing your home.