On December 21, 2020, the United States Congress passed the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021 and $25 billion was allocated to the U.S. Department of the Treasury (U.S. Treasury) for the Emergency Rental Assistance Program (ERAP) to assist households that are unable to pay rent and utilities due to COVID-19 pandemic impacts. The U.S. Treasury issued approximately $1.1 billion to California jurisdictions with a population of 200,000 or more and an additional $1.5 billion to the State of California.
Stanislaus County and the City of Modesto received a combined amount of approximately $16.4 million from the federal government for distribution to those who are eligible and can demonstrate a need and anticipate receiving a combined total of approximately $19.5 million from the State of California. In total, approximately $35.9 million will be made available to Eligible Households communitywide. The ERAP funding received is restricted to Stanislaus County residents.
On Tuesday, February 23, 2021, both the Stanislaus County Board of Supervisors and the Modesto City Council approved guidelines and a delivery model for a local ERAP. The Stanislaus County ERAP will be facilitated locally through a collaborative effort among Stanislaus County, the City of Modesto, the Stanislaus Regional Housing Authority, United Way of Stanislaus County and four local credit unions: Self-Help Credit Union, Modesto First Federal Credit Union, Organized Labor Credit Union and Rolling F Credit Union.
An Eligible Household is defined as a renter household in which at least one or more individuals meets the following criteria:
· Has a household income at or below 80% of the Area Median Income (AMI),which is the unadjusted median income levels derived from the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) on an annual basis for each jurisdiction adjusted solely for household size;
· Qualifies for unemployment or has experienced a reduction in household income, incurred significant costs, or experienced a financial hardship due to COVID-19; AND
· Demonstrates a risk of experiencing homelessness or housing instability.
During the first 60 days, funding will be focused on Eligible Households at or below 50% of Area Median Income (AMI), or those households who have been unemployed the 90 days prior to application. After the first 60 days, funding will be focused on Eligible Households at or below 80% of Area Median Income.
Phase 1 of the ERAP will provide payment of 100% of rental and utility arrears owed by an Eligible Household. Once the $16.4 million in funds received directly from the federal government has been exhausted, Phase 2 will commence. During Phase 2, the $19.5 million in State Funding will be utilized and provide payment of 80% of rental and utility arrears owed by an Eligible Household.
Funding is limited and households are encouraged to apply as soon as possible.