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California to pay off unpaid rent accrued during COVID-19 pandemic

California will pay off the accumulated unpaid rent that has piled up during the COVID-19 pandemic, the AP reports.

Why it matters: The move would fulfill a promise to landlords to help them to break even, while giving renters relief, the AP writes.


The big picture: A little over 2% of people in California who have applied for rent relief during the pandemic have received it, KQED reports.

  • The state has accrued $5.2 billion from various federal aid packages to pay off people's rent, which should be enough to get the job done, Jason Elliott, senior counselor to Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) on housing and homelessness, told AP.
  • California has been slow to distribute the funds. The state has received $490 million in rental aid requests through May 31, but only $32 million has been paid out, when not including the 12 cities and 10 counties that run independent rental assistance programs, per AP.

But, but, but: State officials also haven't yet decided whether they'll extend California's eviction moratorium, which is set to expire on June 30.

  • Newsom and lawmakers are "meeting privately" about the issue, but there are disagreements as to how long the moratorium should last, AP reports.
  • Extending the moratorium would give the state enough time to distribute the funds to pay off unpaid rents, which might not be possible to do by June 30, the AP notes.

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