Rancho Cucamonga, Calif. – As of today, National CORE’s residents have applied for, and received, nearly $4.2 million in rental assistance. This milestone was achieved through the close collaboration and unwavering persistence of residents and National CORE and Hope through Housing staff. Together, they tirelessly worked for months to navigate a long and strenuous rent relief application process to ensure that families, individuals, and seniors were able to get back on track with their rent payments and stay housed.
The majority of National CORE’s residents, already in precarious financial situations before March 2020, have been among the most hard-hit by the pandemic’s economic fallout. Many residents lost their jobs or lost hours during the early stages of the pandemic. Even for those with savings, many fell behind on rent payments through no fault of their own. National CORE residents, like so many other renters across the country, were in need of help.
Upon passing the December and March stimulus bills, which earmarked $46.6 billion for rental assistance, Congressmembers announced that “help is on the way.” But the money didn’t magically appear in front of those in need the next day, or week, or month. By the end of May, five months after rent relief was first set aside, California renters had only applied for $473 million, and had only received $20 million, of the $7.2 billion set aside for rent and utility assistance in California.
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As soon as there were conversations about federal rent relief – before the stimulus bills were signed and applications opened – National CORE and Hope through Housing started working to get the word out to its residents. When applications opened, the team jumped into action, posting fliers, going door to door, making phone calls, and hosting events to make sure that all residents were aware that they were eligible for rental assistance.
National CORE redirected significant staff time and resources to this issue, not only to help keep its residents housed, but also keep its budget stable and allow it to continue providing affordable housing.
Due to a variety of barriers – including “difficulty accessing the state’s web portal to submit applications,” “technological and language barriers to applying,” “difficulty documenting their income losses” and “difficulty communicating with their landlords” – rent relief was very hard to access for many renters, causing the very slow distribution of funds. To counter this, Hope through Housing and National CORE organized rent relief clinics, where team members sat down with residents and city and county workers involved in distributing rental assistance and walked residents through each step of the extensive documentation process required to receive relief. The team found that follow-up was crucial – it was necessary to make consistent phone calls to the fund-distributing agencies to make sure that all documents for a given residents’ file were in order.
“We’re extremely proud that we have gone the extra mile to help our residents access the rent relief that is out there,” said National CORE President and CEO Steve PonTell. “Through targeted outreach, one-on-one application assistance, and persistent follow-up, we have kept so many families housed. That is incredibly important to us, to our mission, and to our residents.”
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About National Community Renaissance (National CORE)
National CORE is one of the nation’s premier affordable housing developers, building award-winning communities and creating a platform for individual and community change. National CORE creates strong, healthy communities where residents can thrive. In partnership with the Hope through Housing Foundation, National CORE provides impactful resident programs and services to help children and teens achieve success, improve families’ financial well-being, and promote senior health and wellness. For more information on National CORE, please visit www.nationalcore.org.
About Hope through Housing
Hope through Housing believes that affordable housing can be a platform for transformational change at the individual and neighborhood level. For more than 20 years, the Hope through Housing Foundation has provided more than 2 million hours of transformational social services helping children and teens achieve success, improving families’ financial well-being, and promoting seniors’ health and wellness. For more information on Hope through Housing, please visit www.hthf.org.