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Board of Supervisors to vote on rental and mortgage assistance program Tuesday

As CARES Act funding comes to an end, housing experts worry of an eviction crisis
Posted at 5:38 PM, Aug 20, 2020
and last updated 2020-08-20 20:38:59-04

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. — The County Board of Supervisors is set to vote on a plan to allocate millions in CARES Act funding to assisting those impacted by the pending eviction moratorium repeal.

On Aug. 14, the State Judicial Council voted to end its moratorium on evictions and foreclosure filings on Sept. 1, about two weeks later than they were initially set to end. On Tuesday, during the Kern County Board of Supervisors meeting, the board was met with cries for action from community members.

Jasmine Delageta "People have been choosing between food, medicine, or paying rent," said one caller. "Residents are anxious, they're nervous, they're afraid of what is to come. Passing an emergency ordinance is the next necessary step."
After hearing their comments, Board Chairwoman Leticia Perez asked Chief Administrative Officer Ryan Alsop to add recommendations to the agenda for the board's Aug. 28 meeting. Alsop said the task would be challenging since the county would only have two days to prepare its recommendation, but come Thursday a recommended plan was added to the agenda.

The plan allocates $5 million for a rental and mortgage assistance program, expected to provide assistance for individuals at or below 80% of the area median income that have been financially impacted by COVID-19.

The program would provide up to $5,000 per family household and must result in the avoidance of eviction or foreclosure.

This new program is similar to a recent plan set up by the City of Bakersfield in partnership with the Housing Authority of the County of Kern. The city approved $5 million of its CARES Acts fund for a temporary rent subsidy that would be a preventative investment to help individuals or families maintain stable housing and help property owners pay their obligations as well.
"The County program is planned to work in conjunction with the City's program with both programs being administered by the Housing Authority of the County of Kern," the county's recommended plan stated.

The county's program would fund applications outside of city limits as well as other cities and incorporated areas of Kern.

The plan will go before the board during its Tuesday morning Budget Hearing at 9 a.m. If the board approves the plan, a program agreement with the Housing Authority will need to be brought back before the board for final approval.

Along with the $5 million recommended for housing assistance, the county is also requesting $1 million to fund additional costs of the County Coroner and $15 million for first responder costs incurred in the county's fire department.

The total fiscal impact of the utilization plan is $21 million in state allocated CARES Act funds.