Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, many people across the country have struggled to make ends meet after losing their jobs or experiencing reduced work hours as their employers struggled as well. Many renters have found themselves unable to pay their landlords and utility providers. Eviction moratoriums have allowed individuals and families to remain housed but have not forgiven the debt which has accumulated over time. Recognizing this growing problem, the federal government developed the Emergency Rental Assistance Program (ERAP), designed to prevent families and individuals from becoming homeless. ERAP provides funds to renters to pay back rent and utilities. In some cases, future rent is paid for those who continue to struggle.
With funds granted by the federal government, the City of Fremont launched the Keep Fremont Housed rental assistance program in April 2021. Focusing on Fremont residents whose current household income is below 80% of the area median income and prioritizing those households which make below 50%, the Keep Fremont Housed program has already approved 564 applications and paid $7,893,463.45 in back rent and utilities and, in some cases, future rent.
The City is pleased with the results to date and looks forward to helping more Fremont families in need. Many of the families already receiving financial assistance have expressed gratitude for this support. Some of their comments are provided below, while more detailed stories will be shared in the coming weeks.
- “The City's Keep Fremont Housed program is a wonderful program. I had no job due to COVID-19, and I missed my rent and utility payments. I heard about this program from my landlord. Fortunately, I applied and got approved. My family and I are so glad for this helpful program that takes care of people in need.”
- “I worked at a small business in Fremont. Due to the pandemic, everything was shut down. I got behind on my rent and utilities. When I heard about Keep Fremont Housed, I applied and was approved. My landlord was paid in full and so were my utility bills. I was so grateful to have these bills caught up. It was a huge weight lifted off my shoulders.”
- “Before the pandemic, I was an executive at a startup. As the pandemic began, I was furloughed from my company. I had never been unemployed for more than 3 months and started looking for a job right away. I discovered that the job market came to a halt. I could not find a job. Unemployment benefits helped, but they were a fraction of my normal earnings. I continued to pay full rent until I exhausted all of my savings. I researched state and federal programs and found Keep Fremont Housed. My application was approved, and my landlord was paid in full. I cannot begin to express the relief I felt. I have been in my home 16 years and was very worried.”
Funds are still available to help Fremont renters. If you or someone you know is having trouble paying rent or utilities due to COVID-19, please visit our website or call the Fremont Family Resource Center at 510-574-2028.