Kern County Rental and Mortgage Assistance Program Updates

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. — On Tuesday, the Kern County Board of Supervisors approved $5 million for residents in need of rental and mortgage assistance. Individuals with an income at or below 80% of the region’s median income who have been impacted by COVID-19 and are facing eviction or foreclosure can receive up to $5,000 per family.

According to the office of supervisor Leticia Perez, no date has been set for the distribution of funds or the availability of applications. Money given to families will be on a first-come, first-served basis. CAPK and the Kern County Housing Authority are still creating the process. Supervisor Perez’s office said the process should be completed within the next few weeks.

23ABC contacted the Kern Housing Authority for further details, but the office said: ‘We are still developing program details and will pause interviews until we have disclosures and details.’

Supervisor Perez’s office says the process should be completed in the coming weeks. 23ABC also asked Supervisor Perez if the funds approved by the city and county will be enough to help residents facing eviction or foreclosure.

“It’s important and I’m curious to see where we are by next week. We should get some information from the governor on the eviction moratorium soon, that will of course change the dynamic of the conversation. But as and as the requests start coming in and we get a better idea of ​​who is impacted by COVID and has these issues we will find out we have some flexibility and we will get back to the board and fix it if that’s not enough and we’ll do whatever we can to fight for more,” Perez said.

23ABC asked supervisor Perez if the board of supervisors could create its own moratorium on evictions. Perez said: “I believe we can if the need arises. I don’t know if the political will exists to do such a thing. I suspect not, but we haven’t had that conversation and when we will , it will be happening in public.”

Political advocate Jasmene del Aguila said the funds are a good start, but more needs to be done and the county could be more proactive in ensuring residents stay home. She also believes there needs to be more local protections for vulnerable populations who already have stressors. Recently, the Justice and Accountability Leadership Council, Mayor Arvin and others proposed three actions to the Oversight Council. Which include utility assistance, a fully funded right to counsel policy, and an emergency ordinance.

“This would block all evictions in Kern County. It would prevent people from being evicted and relieve the stress of residents having to choose between buying food or paying rent,” del Aguila said.