As KESQ has previously reported, there’s a $33 million fund that exists locally to help Riverside County residents struggling to pay rent due to the pandemic.
The fund was made possible by the county and multiple agencies working together, including local non-profit Lift to Rise. Over the last few months, they’ve been providing up to $3,500 in rental assistance, federally-funded, to those experiencing a COVID-19 related hardship.
After some changes that went into effect last week, more people should now be eligible for assistance.
According to Heather Vaikona, the CEO of Lift to Rise, applicants no longer have to provide documentation that they’re behind on their rent to qualify. People can apply regardless of income level or immigration status.
However, to be approved, you do have to provide:
- Proof of a rental agreement and
- Proof of a COVID-19 related hardship.
Vaikona says they understand COVID has financially burdened families in different ways: “loss of job, loss of hours, increase in healthcare costs, increase in childcare costs, for example,” she said. All of these would constitute a “COVID-19 related hardship" and make a person eligible for the financial assistance.
People who previously applied and received less than the $3,500 cap, can also now receive an additional payment, to bring them up to that $3,500 total in assistance.
"Payments are made directly to landlords because we know that in this equation, landlords are doubly impacted," explained Vaikona.
Those interested in applying should go to www.unitedlift.org or simply call 2-1-1 if dialing within Riverside County.