Low-income renters in Fresno County can now apply for help with past due rent through the Fresno County Emergency Rental Assistance Program (ERAP).

According to a county news release, the county will distribute about $30 million received from the U. S. Department of Treasury and the California Department of Housing and Community Development.

The ERAP is open to renters who make 50% or less than the area median income and lost income due to COVID-19. The AMI in Fresno County was $53,969 in 2019, according to census data.

The program covers low-income renters across Fresno County, regardless of documentation status — with the exception of people living in the city of Fresno. Fresno City launched a similar $35 million rental assistance program that is specific to Fresno city residents in mid-March.

How the program works

Fresno County received federal and state coronavirus relief funds that will be used to pay off rent debt throughout the county. The county is distributing funds in partnership with RH Community Builders, a homeless services organization.

There are two ways in which the program pays back rent, according to the ERAP website: 80% directly to landlords or 25% to the tenant.

If a tenant qualifies for the program, the county will pay up to 80% of any back rent acquired between April 1, 2020 and March 31, 2021. The payment will go directly to the landlord if the landlord agrees to the deal.

However, if a landlord refuses, the county can then provide the tenant with 25% of the owed amount so they can avoid eviction for nonpayment while the state’s rent moratorium is in place.

The rent moratorium is set to expire on June 30. Until then, landlords cannot evict tenants for nonpayment if the tenant has provided proof of financial hardship and paid at least 25% of their rent.

How to apply

Tenants can apply to the Fresno County ERAP at Fresnorentalhelp.com. For more information, email erap@rhbsfresno.com or call 559-515-4700.

In order to apply for ERAP, tenants must provide proof of financial hardship due to COVID-19, documentation of rent debt and proof of occupancy.

According to the county website, at least one document from each category must be provided to qualify:

Documentation of coronavirus-related income loss:

  • Employment Development Department paperwork (unemployment paperwork).

  • Pay stubs showing a loss of hours.

  • A letter from your employer.

Documentation of back rent:

  • A three-day notice from your landlord.

  • A tenant ledger showing the balance due.

  • A rental agreement showing monthly rent.

Documentation of occupancy:

  • A rental agreement.
  • Or mail received at the address.

Citizenship status is not a requirement to apply.

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