6 months in, Fresno has millions in emergency rent money to distribute. What’s the holdup?


The city of Fresno’s emergency rental assistance program has been slow to roll out funding in its first six months because of a lengthy documentation process, initially required by the state and federal government.

“When landlords don’t have money to pay their mortgages, they want that money two weeks ago,” said Pao Yang, CEO of The Fresno Center, which partnered with the city for the program. “But because of requirements, because of auditing these public funds, it does take time. We are trying to be efficient.”

Despite receiving $42 million, the city has only distributed 22% or about $9.5 million to tenants, landlords, to offset PG&E bills and support housing stability programs and organizations, six months after the inception of the program.

Specifically, as of Sept. 2, $7.8 million has gone to tenants or landlords for rental debt accumulated since April 2020; $1.1 million toward paying PG&E debt from 672 households, and an additional $1.5 million to housing stability programs and organizations.

Likewise, only 13% of qualified rental assistance applicants — 1,348 of the 10,142 qualified applicants — have received the money. In total, the city and community based organizations received 14,590 applications for rent assistance as of Sept. 2.

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