Stanislaus County will soon receive funds through an Emergency Rental Assistance Program (ERAP) supported by the U.S. Department of the Treasury. The Emergency Rental Assistance program makes available $25 billion to assist households unable to pay rent and utilities due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The funds are provided directly to States, U.S. Territories, local governments, and Indian tribes. Government agencies must use these funds to provide assistance to eligible households through rental assistance programs.
According to information on the Stanislaus County website, the Stanislaus region will be receiving a combined amount of roughly $16,400,000 for distribution to those who are eligible and can demonstrate a need. The Emergency Rental Assistance program will be facilitated locally through a collaboration between the City and County to distribute funds to residents in households throughout Stanislaus County.
“Countless numbers of Stanislaus residents are hurting right now and fear the unknown,” said Stanislaus County Supervisor Terry Withrow. “The County has been and continues to be committed to doing everything we can to support individuals who are struggling as a result of COVID-19. This program will be a critical tool in our efforts toward helping people get back on their feet.”
Representative Josh Harder (CA-10) said funding was included as part of the stimulus bill passed late last year.
“I’ve heard from hundreds of people who are worried about ending up on the streets or missing their rent payments because of the pandemic,” said Rep. Harder. “We don’t want innocent people to end up homeless because the Coronavirus has thrown our lives into chaos. This funding will help those very people stay in their homes and pay their bills.”
Notable funding distribution in Harder’s 10th Congressional district includes San Joaquin County, slated to receive approximately $13.1 million; Stanislaus County receiving approximately $10 million; and the City of Modesto will receive approximately $6.4 million.
A minimum of 90 percent of awarded funds must be used for direct financial assistance, including rent, utilities and home energy costs, as well as other expenses related to housing. Remaining funds are available for housing stability services, including case management and other services intended to keep households stably housed, and administrative costs.
Many of the specifics regarding a timeline of funding availability are unknown at this time. In the next few weeks, the federal government is expected to release detailed guidelines on the use of these funds, at which time information will be released to the community regarding application instructions and eligibility details.
For program information currently available, see the following link: https://home.treasury.gov/policy-issues/cares/emergency-rental-assistance-program.
Harder, who won re-election in November and represents Oakdale, Escalon and Riverbank, will continue to serve on the House Committee on Agriculture for this term in Congress after successfully obtaining a waiver from the House Steering and Policy Committee. Members of the House who are appointed to the Appropriations Committee typically serve solely on that committee. If a member wishes to serve on an additional committee, they must seek out and obtain a special waiver allowing them to serve on an additional committee.
“This is the best-case scenario for the Valley. I get to fight for the funding we deserve on the Appropriations Committee – and I can continue my work on behalf of our farmers by serving on the Agriculture Committee once again,” said Harder. “It’s particularly important for me to serve on Ag this term as I’ll focus on our specialty crop producers when we look at drafting the next Farm Bill.”
Last month, Harder announced that he had been appointed to the House Appropriations Committee. The Committee is responsible for drafting all funding legislation in the House and will give Rep. Harder an opportunity to secure more funding for the Central Valley.