NewsCovering Kern County


California's COVID-19 rent relief deadline doesn't affect Kern County

For Rent Sign (FILE)
Posted at 4:27 PM, Mar 31, 2022
and last updated 2022-03-31 21:32:07-04

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KERO) — Tens of thousands of California renters facing eviction can breathe a sigh of relief after the state legislature passed a bill extending eviction protections for anyone who has applied for state assistance. The bill does not give renters more time to apply for assistance, but it does allow those who have applied and are waiting to receive money the ability to stay in their homes for at least the next three months.

The deadline for Californians to apply to the state’s rent relief program just passed and while this deadline is important for many across the state, it’s not something those in Kern Count will have to worry about. Depending on your address, the deadline might not apply to you and instead, you may be eligible to apply to and receive help locally.

A map of the state shows counties in green that rely on the state’s COVID-19 rent relief program and counties in yellow that have their own local assistance programs. That includes Kern County which is still actively helping residents with financial assistance.

State COVID Rent Relief Map

Assistant executive director at the Housing Authority of Kern, Heather Kimmel, says the program has helped thousands of Kern County families pay rent and utility bills. The state’s COVID-19 rent relief program deadline does not affect residents here in Kern County.

“If there are people out there that still need assistance that haven’t applied yet, I strongly encourage them to get that in as quickly as possible,” said Kimmel. “Both the city and the county decided to operate the program within Kern County to keep those funds local and administer the program here.”

“We’ve actually funded just over 7,000 applications so a little over 7,000 families have received assistance through this program. We’ve received a total of about 18,000 applications.”

Kimmel says only renters impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic should apply.

“You have to be at or below 80% of the area median income and you have to have been financially impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic so many loss of income or increased expenses may be due to medical bills or some kind of financial impact.”

If you are eligible, the program can help with bills that were due after April 1, 2021, and you can receive up to 15 months of assistance. Kimmel says assistance from the housing authority is available until 2025 or until funds run out. But as of right now, the program is still able to help residents in need.

“From the state of the application to the date of actually getting that money, it is anywhere from about 30 to 40 days. When we reach the point where we have to stop taking applications, we will notify the public. We will give them a time period to which they can get their final applications in."

If you need rent and utility assistance and think you may be eligible to apply you can find out more online.