STOCKTON, Calif. — Thousands of tenants in the city of Stockton are behind on their rent, and the Emergency Rental Assistance Program is meant to provide relief to qualified renters and landlords by covering some of the money that's owed. To give people more time to apply, the city has expanded the application window indefinitely.
“The original deadline for the program was April 30. We've gone ahead and extended that. It's just ‘open’ right now,” Carrie Wright, Stockton’s Director of Economic Development said.
Stockton has over $20 million in federal and state funds available. To qualify, renters must meet income requirements and have been impacted financially by the pandemic.
“We're going to continue to take applications until we utilize all the funding and get it out into the community,” Wright said. “Our hope is that the city of Stockton is going to be able to help more than 4,000 families with rental assistance through this program.”
If renters and landlords participate together, the program covers up to 80% of unpaid rent from April 2020 through March 31, 2021. Landlords must agree to waive the remaining 20%. Without landlord participation, tenants could be awarded up to 25%. Additional assistance may be possible through the end of June. Help with utilities also may be available.
There’s paperwork involved and the process can be complicated. Communication is key. “It's really important for tenants and landlords to work together,” Wright said.
So far, Wright says over 2,000 applications have come in and over 800 have been approved. How quickly an application gets approved can vary. “It's really dependent on the completeness of the application. There are some that come in, they have all the information they need. They're approved right away. There's others that need additional documentation and staff reaches out to them to get that.”
For those who need assistance--or who don’t have a computer--the city’s program partner, El Concilio, can help.
“If you need help filling out the application, the best thing to do is call our call center, and staff can walk you through the process, or set up an appointment to meet with you in person at libraries throughout the city,” Wright told ABC10.
In-person assistance at Stockton library branches is available by appointment only. The number to call for help or to schedule an appointment is 209-644-2690.