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Rental assistance deadline is fast approaching in Kern County

Posted at 6:26 PM, Aug 10, 2022
and last updated 2022-08-10 21:26:38-04

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KERO) — Time is running out for those still looking to apply for rental assistance through Kern County. But what are the options for those who already applied, but were denied? Well, there is some hope.

There are many reasons why someone would get denied rental assistance. Most of the people applying are juggling a slew of other life decisions. And since the application process can be confusing, keeping track of it is important.

That is why April Hernandez, an eviction assistance project coordinator with Greater Bakersfield Legal Assistance, who has been working with people seeking rental assistance, says it is important to get the appeal in within the 10-day window starting from the date the letter was sent.

"Usually when an appeal is submitted, after it has been processed, the rental assistance is awarded."

The thing is, she says many don’t know that is an option. Adding that sometimes it’s simple document swaps that are needed to reverse the decision.

"It could be something as far as like updated income verification. So initially when you submit an application your documents may be current, however from the time an application is submitted to the time of processing, because of you know that time frame, it may be reviewed when the documents are no longer current. So those documents need to be resubmitted in order for the application to be processed."

The Housing Authority of the County of Kern says for the most part the denials are due to people being over the income limit, trying to renew the assistance, or not giving the proper documentation. Adding they do reach out before denying the application, which is why it is important to frequently check your mail or online portal.

If you are denied, the appeal can be a written letter or an email to the Housing Authority.

"So, we are basically looking in the appeal to see if the decision for the denial was valid or not valid," said Heather Kimmel, the assistant executive director with the Housing Authority of Kern.

The Housing Authority says a little more than half of the approximately 26,000 applications have been funded and with the deadline weeks away, acting fast is key.

"You know if you receive the denial letter don't wait because once those ten days are up, you know, they are up, and you have to re-apply again and go through the process again," explained Hernandez.

But if you do wait until the last minute to apply and are denied, your 10-day window to appeal will still be valid. And although they are still getting hundreds of applications coming in, the county has noticed a trend in the right direction.

"At the beginning of the program, people were applying, and they were 12 months past due on their rent when now we are not seeing them past due that long," said Kimmel.

For those who need help submitting an application or a denial, you can reach out to the GBLA at (661) 325-5943. They don’t have an answering machine and ask you to keep trying if no one answers.