State Updates on COVID-19 and Pandemic Relief
Federal Child Tax Credit
The American Rescue Plan, passed by Congress and signed by President Biden, is providing the largest Child Tax Credit ever. The Child Tax Credit increased from its current $2,000 per child to $3,000 per child for children over the age of six and $3,600 for children under the age of six. The age limit was also raised from 16 to 17. All working families will get the full credit if they make up to $150,000 for a couple or $112,500 for a family with a single parent (also called Head of Household).
If your family meets those qualifications and you filed a tax return for 2020, you will automatically receive monthly payments, starting in July, without having to take any action. But if you are a low-income family and did not file a federal tax return because you didn't earn enough income, you must sign up in order to receive the Child Tax Credit. You can sign up here by clicking this link.
State Renter Financial Relief and Eviction Moratorium
- On June 28, 2021, Gov. Newsom signed AB 832, which prohibits pandemic-related evictions in California until Sept. 30 2021.
- Pease check Housing Is Key for renter and landlord relief relating to AB 832.
Here are the key elements of the newly revised rental assistance program:
- Either renters or landlords can apply. NOTE: the application process works best (and fastest) if both the tenant and landlord complete it cooperatively.
- If both the tenant(s) and landlord apply, then up to 100% of unpaid back rent - and up to three months of future rent - will be paid directly to the landlord.
- Tenants can apply on their own without a landlord applying. In that case, program staff will contact the landlord directly.
- If the landlord still declines to participate, the payments will go to the tenant, who must sign a legally binding document agreeing to transmit 100% of the payments to their landlord within 15 days.
- A landlord may apply on their own, if their tenant doesn't apply. In this case, program staff will contact the tenant directly. If the tenant(s) qualifies and agrees, then the landlord will be paid directly the back rent that is owed.
- However, if the tenant(s) still declines to participate, then, unfortunately, because of federal rules, the landlord will be ineligible to receive any program funds.
- For tenants and landlords who already applied through Housing Is Key and received up to 80% of back rent, the Housing Is Key program will automatically "top off" those recipients to up to 100% of what is owed without the need to reapply.
- However, tenants who need help paying future rent have to apply again to have their future rent obligations covered.
- The program also allows non-occupancy payments. If a tenant who owes back rent has vacated the rental unit, then the tenant and landlord can apply for up to 100% of what is owed.
- Utility Payments. Low-income renters who have been unable to pay some or all of their utilities because of the pandemic - or can't pay future utilities - can also apply for assistance on paying their utility bills. Payments will be made directly to the utility provider.
- Tenants living in, or landlords owning property in Contra Costa County or the city of Oakland, submit your application here: Housing Is Key.
- Tenants who live in, or landlords who own property in Alameda County (excluding the city of Oakland), submit your application through Alameda County's renter-landlord relief program, Alameda County Housing Secure. You can apply online using the Alameda County Housing Secure website or complete a paper application that is available in multiple languages. The paper application is downloadable from Alameda County Housing Secure.
- NOTE: If you are a renter who lives in Oakland or a landlord who owns property in Oakland, you must apply through Housing Is Key, not through the Alameda County program.
- All renters statewide are protected from eviction for inability to pay rent until at least Sept. 30. In Alameda County, the eviction ban will remain in effect longer, to 60 days after the county's health emergency is lifted. These eviction protections only cover inability to pay due to the pandemic and not other actions that otherwise qualify for a just cause eviction.
- IMPORTANT NOTE: Renters who submit an application to the rental assistance program by Sept. 30 are protected from eviction beyond Sept. 30 while their rental assistance application is being processed. So submit your application ASAP. Don't wait.
Resources for California Schools
State Services for those Impacted by COVID-19
Local Resources & Updates
Local Health Departments' COVID-19 Pages
Local Bans on Evictions
Alameda County's eviction moratorium is effective until after the local health emergency is lifted.
Contra Costa County's eviction moratorium lasts until Sept. 30, 2021.
Contra Costa County
Energy, Communications, & Utilities
PG&E, our local Community Choice energy providers, and East Bay MUD have suspended shutoffs during the crisis. Also, most cellphone carriers and internet providers have signed the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) pledge to provide certain benefits during the COVID-19 emergency. The pledge requires companies to keep providing service to people unable to pay their bills due to the COVID-19 pandemic, waiving certain fees, and easing data restrictions to allow consumers to freely use data during the emergency. Find out here if your company signed.
Oakland and Berkeley have established relief funds for those impacted by the crisis.
If you’re impacted by the crisis due to your immigration status, please see the Legal Aid at Work website for more information on how to get help.