Local COVID-19 rent and mortgage assistance programs expand income eligibility and maximum awards

New online application simplifies process for individuals. Landlords and lenders encouraged to apply on behalf of tenants and borrowers

CONTACT: Anna Laven, Ed.D., BKRHC Executive Director, 310-592-8557, anna.laven@bkrhc.org

BAKERSFIELD, CA – The City of Bakersfield and County of Kern this week approved modifications to local COVID-19 rent and mortgage assistance programs that both expand the number of residents eligible for assistance and increase the maximum award amount.

The City and County in September allocated $5 million each (for a total of $10 million) towards programs that provide one-time rent and mortgage assistance for residents of any city or unincorporated area within Kern County who have been impacted by COVID-19.

The Bakersfield City Council and Kern County Board of Supervisors approved revisions to the rent and mortgage assistance programs that increased both the household income limits and maximum payment amounts. Applicants may now have a household income of up to 120-percent of the Area Median Income. For a family of four, that amount is $83,880. The household income cap was previously 80-percent of the Area Median Income, or $55,900 for a family of four. The maximum award amount has also been doubled, from $5,000 to $10,000.

“COVID-19 impacts families and individuals at all income levels,” said Stephen Pelz, executive director of the Housing Authority of the County of Kern and chairman of the Bakersfield-Kern Regional Homeless Collaborative Executive Board. “With these modifications, our local COVID-19 Rent and Mortgage Assistance Programs funded by the City of Bakersfield and Kern County have the potential to help more families navigate these uncertain and tumultuous times, so they can focus on staying safe and healthy.”

Online pre-application simplifies process for individuals

With the assistance of Community Action Partnership of Kern, the Housing Authority has launched an online form for individuals to apply for assistance. The online form is available on the Housing Authority’s website and can be used by both renters and homeowners. Interested individuals can visit www.KernHA.org for more information or visit bit.ly/2IAAHVc to directly access the online application.

Landlords and lenders encouraged to apply on behalf of tenants and borrowers

The Housing Authority is also accepting applications from landlords and lenders on behalf of their tenants and borrowers. Interested landlords and lenders can download an application from bit.ly/3nfxs4G and return it to the Housing Authority.

Local COVID-19 Rent and Mortgage Assistance Programs will continue through December 31, 2020, or when funds are depleted, whichever comes first.

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ABOUT THE BAKERSFIELD-KERN REGIONAL HOMELESS COLLABORATIVE

The Bakersfield-Kern Regional Homeless Collaborative (BKRHC) is an independent nonprofit organization composed of individuals, organizations and public agencies dedicated to address homelessness in our community. Through collaborative planning and action, BKRHC works to reduce the impacts of homelessness and build a future where every person in Kern County has a permanent place to call home.

ABOUT THE LOCAL COVID-19 RENT AND MORTGAGE ASSISTANCE PROGRAMS

The City of Bakersfield and Kern County together have funded $10 million for rent and mortgage assistance to individuals and households who have been impacted by COVID-19. Individuals may receive a one-time payment of up to $10,000, paid directly to the recipient’s landlord or lender. To be eligible for the programs, individuals must reside in any city or unincorporated area within Kern County. Applicants must pay 30-percent or more of their income towards housing and may have an income of up to 120-percent of the Area Median Income. For a family of four, that amount is $83,880. To apply for assistance or find more information, individuals, landlords or lenders can visit the Housing Authority website (www.kernha.org) or call 2-1-1.

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