In less than a week, California’s eviction moratorium will end.
It’s a race against time for tens of thousands of tenants who were hurt by the pandemic and are behind on rent.
The state said it has more than a $1 billion in rent help to distribute.
If you live in Alameda County, there may be additional eviction protections in place, depending on which city you live.
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But further east in Contra Costa County, tenants hit by the pandemic and unable to pay back months of overdue rent could be forced out of their homes by next Friday.
“The need is overwhelming, I can’t even describe it,” said Anne Tamiko Omura, Executive Director of the Eviction Defense Center in Oakland.
The wave of evictions is coming and Omura is the lifeguard trying to rescue tenants from drowning in homelessness. Omura runs the Eviction Defense Center in Oakland.
“It’s no sleep. It’s an all nighter until September the 30. We’re answering calls and trying to help people get in the system,” she said.
The system Omura was referring to is California’s Rent Relief Program. $5.2 billion dollars that are supposed to help struggling families bounce back from the pandemic by paying their back rent and overdue utility bills.
Even though thousands of Bay Area landlords and tenants have applied, Omura said receiving the help has been a waiting game.
“The infrastructure wasn’t really there to pipeline the money into the community. It’s there now and I feel like the money is starting to flow. But it’s definitely frustrating there is a huge backlog,” she added.
To avoid eviction, the state said tenants must apply for rent relief by Sept. 30.
The state’s rent relief program does not end on Sept. 30, which means you can still receive rent help after the moratorium is lifted.
The state has at least $1.4 billion in rent relief help left to hand out.
“The funding is there, they should apply. Don’t be unhoused just because you didn’t apply!” said Bart Charlow, CEO of Samaritan House.