The county has teamed up with a few local non-profits, creating a program to help those who cannot pay their rent due to the impacts of COVID-19.
The rental assistance program is called United Lift -- they’re giving away $33 million dollars in rental assistance to those right here in Riverside County.
“There’s not a phone in our office that’s not full of messages of people that are experiencing deep trauma,” said Heather Vaikona, President & CEO of Lift to Rise, one of the non-profits involved.
She says they have a goal to help 10,000 families locally with rental assistance between the months of June and November. The first round of payments already went out.
“The data is really staggering. 70% of people who have applied are female head of households...that’s countywide. 45% of applicants are single mothers,” said Vaikona.
The next application period opens Wednesday this week on July 15th for those who can prove a COVID-19 related hardship. “Folks are able to apply regardless of immigration status,” said Vaikona.
If approved, she says the rental assistance should cover 100% of total past due rent, up to $3,500 per household.
Those interested should go to www.unitedlift.org to apply or simply call 211. “211 is a countywide that’s a number folks can call,” explained Vaikona. The application is available in English and Spanish.
The fund was created to keep families together and prevent overcrowding in homes: “Families are having to double and triple up -- and that’s also a public health issue right now,” said Vaikona.
The county also hopes to prevent an increase in homelessness they say we’re already seeing.
“It’s truly important to us that all of those families in need come to us and ask for the help that is there for them,” said Heidi Marshall, Director of Rivco Department of Housing, Homelessness Prevention.