Thousands of low-income California families impacted by the drought will soon be receiving rental assistance, thanks to a new $10 million grant program being offered through California’s Department of Housing and Community Development (HCD). La Cooperativa, a nonprofit association, has been selected by HCD to administer the program, and assistance will begin flowing directly to California families in the coming weeks.
“This program will provide timely, short-term disaster assistance for workers in agriculture and related industries as impacts of the drought continue to be felt,” said Randall Deems, acting director for HCD. “Rental assistance and help with utility bills will provide some stability to families and communities that are most vulnerable to the economic impacts of reduced agricultural production this year.”
The Drought Housing Rental Subsidies program, which will also help subsidize utility payments, will be offered to eligible individuals and families in Tulare, Kings and 22 other counties, which have an unemployment rate that is higher than the 2013 statewide average and have a higher share of agricultural workers than the state as a whole.
La Cooperativa, an association of nonprofit farmworker agencies, has just been awarded the contract through a competitive bidding process. They will implement and administer the Drought Housing Rental Subsidies program on behalf of HCD. La Cooperativa has a strong history of providing services for disaster relief and rental assistance to Californians.
“We appreciate the governor’s actions to support residents who have been affected by the drought disaster,” said La Cooperativa Executive Director Marco Lizarraga. “We’re looking forward to partnering with HCD to deliver this much-needed assistance as quickly as possible.”
Individuals and families interested in applying for the Drought Housing Rental Subsidies program will have multiple access points. La Cooperativa has more than 50 offices in the 24-county area, plus four mobile units that will serve smaller agricultural communities. A short application will need to be completed and if an applicant is deemed eligible, rental payments will be made directly to the landlord and/or utility company.
More information on the Drought Housing Rental Subsidies program is available by calling La Cooperativa at 916-388-2228.
Governor Jerry Brown has called on all Californians to reduce their water use by 20% and prevent water waste. Visit saveourH2O.org or drought.ca.gov to learn more about how California is dealing with the effects of the drought.