More than 100,000 California tenants whose applications for COVID-era rental assistance were denied or delayed by the state’s housing department will get another shot at relief, thanks to a new legal settlement between the state and a coalition of anti-poverty and tenant rights groups.
More aid isn’t guaranteed. But under the terms of the settlement signed at the end of last month, California’s Housing and Community Development Department agreed to audit its past denials and improve multilingual access for tenants who don’t speak English as a first language.
It also agreed to flesh out the appeal process for applicants and provide more detailed explanations when it denies an application. And it committed to providing more data on the race, ethnicity and location of those who were denied help.
California’s housing department received $5.2 billion in federal relief funds in 2021 to help struggling tenants keep up with rent while the state’s economy ground to a halt during the height of the pandemic. The program ended in March 2022.