The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act was approved by Congress in March of 2020. This economic relief package provides funding to individuals, businesses and governments to address the negative impacts of COVID-19. The $2 trillion CARES package included $150 billion for the Coronavirus Relief Fund (CFR) for local governments. The City of Bakersfield received a CRF allocation from the State of California totaling $33.5 million as part of its Fiscal Year 2021 budget that was recently enacted.
At the August 12, 2020, Council meeting staff presented a comprehensive plan to direct the City's CARES allocation developed in part to direct resources to the must vulnerable populations in Bakersfield. The plan approved by the City Council included $5 million for a rental assistance and eviction avoidance program that would be administered by the Housing Authority of the County of Kern (HACK).
The rental/mortgage assistance program would direct $4,750,000 towards City residents with income less than 80% of average median incomes (AMI) who have experienced loss of income since March 2020, have faced significant medical bills related to treatment of COVID-19, or have income less than 50% of AMI and are unable to increase their income due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Residents must also have rental or mortgage burdens that exceed 30% of their gross income. The program establishes a $5,000 maximum amount of assistance available per household. The proposed program will be administered by HACK due to their qualification and experience with past housing assistance programs. HACK will receive no more than $250,000 of the allocation to cover the plan's administration costs.
The State CRF allocation of the CARES Act will provide the funding source for this assistance program, therefore, there is no General Fund impact associated with this agreement.