Falling behind on your rent during COVID? California got you

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California will pay off its rent

All overdue rents accrued in California due to the Covid-19 pandemic could be reimbursed by the state government under a $ 5.2 billion plan backed by Governor Gavin Newsom, according to The Associated Press. The money comes from several federal aid programs and an unexpected state budget surplus.

Jason Elliott, Newsom’s housing and homelessness adviser, told the AP it was enough to cover all rent arrears statewide, by expanding existing rent assistance. Distributing funds for rent assistance is a challenge, however, with only $ 32 million in rent assistance distributed out of the $ 490 million requested until May.

Meanwhile, the state legislature has not agreed on an approach to the evictions. On Thursday, the CDC announced that it was extending eviction protections for an additional 30 days after the original expiration date of June 30.

Under California’s existing rent assistance programs, landlords can receive 80% of the state’s past due rents in exchange for a 20% rebate, according to a separate report on ABC News. But the new plan is to increase the state’s reimbursement to 100%, reinstating any rents that landlords may have lost last year.

“Our challenge is to get this out as quickly as possible while protecting against fraud and making sure we put those who have the most difficulty first,” Elliott told the New York Times.

160 requests for accessory housing units in the first weeks of the Chicago pilot program

Since May, Chicago landowners have applied for permits to build more than 160 sheds and basement and attic apartments in a new three-year pilot program that eases restrictions on the construction of secondary suites, according to the Chicago Tribune.

The pilot program only applies in certain areas of the city, but was created as part of an effort to establish more low-cost housing in Chicago, the report says. The program has different rules for owners of single-family homes compared to multi-family properties, and owners who develop more than two ADUs on a single property are required to reserve half of the units at affordable rents for people earning up to 60 percent of income. median income for the region, according to the report. In the first weeks of the program, 151 homeowners applied for permits to create 167 new accessory units, with about two-thirds of the applications submitted for basement or attic apartments. Affordability requirements have applied to 12 units approved so far, according to the report.

The Chicago Department of Housing will also offer forgivable loans of up to $ 25,000 for low and moderate income homeowners who wish to create ADUs on their own properties, the Tribune reported. The ministry told the Tribune that the ADU program will be evaluated after three years for the number of units and the number of affordable units created in each district. As the next town recently reported, Charleston is preparing to launch a small grant program to help homeowners build secondary suites there.

The Twin Cities have the biggest racial ownership gap

The homeownership gap among black and white residents of the Twin Cities is the largest of any metropolitan area in the country, and it has “widened considerably since 2000,” according to a new report from the Urban Institute.

Homeownership among blacks declines the most in gentrifying neighborhoods where housing costs are rising the most, suggesting that in addition to apartment prices for renters, landlords are “facing an increase. property values ​​and higher property taxes and therefore a greater likelihood of being burdened by housing costs or subject to foreclosure, ”the report says.

Between 2005 and 2020, the number of single-family homes rented rather than owned rose from 22,000 to 48,000, in line with the growing share of rental housing in other cities, according to the report. And investors are buying a growing share of single-family homes in the Twin Cities, especially in areas with declining populations of low-income residents and residents of color, he says.

“While single-family rentals can offer low-income families the opportunity to live in convenient and comfortable neighborhoods, they can also help reduce homeownership and can subject tenants to precarious conditions,” says The report. “Local governments should ensure that tenants are protected from unfair evictions, and state and national governments should ensure that owner investors, especially large businesses, are regulated and taxed in a manner that reflects their impact on society. ”

The research was carried out in partnership with the Alliance, the Family Housing Fund and the Center for Economic Inclusion, with support from the McKnight Foundation.

Jared Brey is the Housing Correspondent for Next City, based in Philadelphia. He is a former editor of Philadelphia Magazine and PlanPhilly, and his work has appeared in Columbia Journalism Review, Landscape Architecture Magazine, US News & World Report, Philadelphia Weekly, and other publications.

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