Congress ended 2020 with a promise: $25 billion of rent relief for renters and landlords nationwide.
With states receiving aid proportional to their population, Bay Area residents have drawn the short end of the stick.
The “most” help is going west. Novogradac’s analysis estimates that $2.63 billion of federal aid is heading to California, nearly double that of the next highest states (Florida, New York). However, a huge renter population and high rent prices throughout the Bay Area lessens the impact of relief compared to lower-cost regions. The rents in the greater San Francisco and San Jose areas have dropped 26.7% and 15.2% throughout the pandemic and still have two of the highest national markets. Relief may prove helpful in the area short-term, but will still only represent a portion of backlogged rent.
The new law mandates the relief get distributed by January 26th unless revised. Local jurisdictions will be tasked to distribute the money, similar to the CARES Act. They have until the end of 2021 to allocate funds but will be pressured to do so sooner than later. Utility providers and landlords will receive the bulk of the aid, and low-income households will be the first tenant demographic to qualify. Eligibility requirements for these households can be found on Novogradic’s online Affordable Housing Resource Center.
The California state legislature could use the success of this policy as a reason to push out more housing relief. Both renter and landlord advocacy groups have been pushing for this since the start of the eviction moratorium. Neither group is to blame for the financial difficulties brought by the pandemic, which won’t see radical change from the most recent $600 stimulus package. More significant aid will allow tenants to cover their growing debts and alleviate the economic hardships that landlords have faced.
Check out The Mercury News’s article for more insight on the new rent relief package.