The Bakersfield Californian
A new rental and mortgage assistance program has launched in Kern County, providing those struggling to make payments due to the coronavirus pandemic up to $5,000 in assistance.
The Bakersfield-Kern Regional Homeless Collaborative announced the program began on Monday. Bakersfield City Council and Kern County Board of Supervisors each provided $5 million to fund the program, which aims to prevent homelessness among families who have lost income or incurred medical bills over $1,000 dollars because of COVID-19.
“COVID-19 has upended the lives of many families in Kern County and put many of our neighbors at risk of losing their homes,” said Stephen Pelz, president of the collaboration and executive director of the Housing Authority, in a statement. communicated. “Thanks to the City of Bakersfield and Kern County, our COVID-19 rent and mortgage payment assistance programs will help alleviate some of the instability these households are experiencing, so they can focus on their safety and health.”
Interested people can call 2-1-1 for a referral. Kern County Housing Authority, Community Action Partnership of Kern and Bakersfield Homeless Center are joining the collaboration for the program.
To be eligible, applicants must live in Kern County, spend more than 30% of their income on housing, and earn a household income of up to 80% of the area’s median income. For a family of four, that works out to $55,900, according to a press release announcing the program’s launch.
Applicants must also have lost income since March 2020 or incurred medical expenses greater than $1,000 which have prevented them from paying their rent or mortgage. Only those who have rental agreements or a mortgage in their name are eligible.
Financial assistance will be paid directly to the recipient’s landlord or mortgage company, the statement said. Funds will be distributed on a first-come, first-served basis.