Low-income residents of Kings County can now apply for coronavirus rent relief, thanks to a state partnership.

CityServe, a collaborative of church and community leaders, announced Friday that they would be distributing back rent to renters and landlords beginning April 26. Census data shows that about 47% of the 152,940 Kings County residents are renters.

According to CityServe director of communications Crissy Sanchez-Cochran, CityServe partnered directly with the state as a Partner Network Resource to distribute funds throughout areas of California, including Kern County. The amount of funding available for Kings County through CityServe is unknown.

The program will operate like Fresno County and city’s Emergency Rental Assistance Programs have, offering up to 80% of rent debt directly to landlords or 25% of rent due to tenants. The city of Fresno and Fresno County are distributing roughly $35 million and $30 million respectively.

CityServe, which is based out of Kern County, also operates rent relief programs in Tulare, Butte, Ventura and Los Angeles Counties, according to Sanchez-Cochran.

Who is eligible?

Kings County renters can qualify for the programs if they make less than 80% of the median area income, lost income or employment due to COVID-19, and owe rent between April 1, 2020 and March 31, 2021.

According to the Census Bureau, the MAI in Kings County is $58,453 annually. Unlike the Fresno City and Kings County program, the Fresno County program provides rent relief only to those who make 50% or less of the median area income.

How the program works

Through the CityServe program, landlords or renters apply to receive funds and will receive an appointment time. Appointments open April 26, according to a news release.

“We’re that starting point to make sure they qualify, that they have all the right information,” Snachez-Cochran said.

CityServe will then pay landlords 80% of what is due them, with the landlord writing off the remaining 20%.

If a landlord refuses, the programs will then provide the tenant 25% of what they owe their landlords, exempting them from evictions due to nonpayment until the eviction moratorium ends on June 30.

Support our nonprofit journalism.


Your contribution is appreciated.