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Rental, Utilities Funding Headed To Central Valley
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As part of the stimulus bill passed late last year, millions of dollars in federal housing support will flow to the Central Valley, Representative Josh Harder (CA-10) announced on Friday, Jan. 15. The funding is made available through the Treasury Department’s Emergency Rental Assistance Program (ERAP) – and will help people struggling to pay rent and utilities as a result of the pandemic.

“I’ve heard from hundreds of people who are worried about ending up on the streets or missing their rent payments because of the pandemic,” said Rep. Harder. “We don’t want innocent people to end up homeless because the Coronavirus has thrown our lives into chaos. This funding will help those very people stay in their homes and pay their bills.”

Notable funding distribution in Rep. Harder’s district includes: San Joaquin County will receive approximately $13.1 million; Stanislaus County will receive approximately $10 million; and the City of Modesto will receive approximately $6.4 million.

“San Joaquin County is pleased to be eligible to receive a direct allocation from the Federal Rental Assistance Program of approximately $13.1 million,” said Supervisor Tom Patti, Chair of the San Joaquin County Board of Supervisors. “This program will help our residents who have been impacted by COVID-19 and are struggling to pay rent and utilities. This program will also bolster the existing program San Joaquin County has launched, the Family COVID-19 Grant Program, which has been inundated with applications resulting from the incredible need for assistance due to the closure of businesses and the impact of the Regional Stay At-Home Orders. We are grateful that we can continue to provide these funds to those most in need and help to get people back on their feet.”

The local governments will distribute funding to eligible households in the area – defined as families with a household income at or below 80 percent of the local median income and who either qualify for unemployment benefits or can demonstrate a risk of experiencing homelessness or housing instability. Additional requirements are being developed and the local governments will release information on applying for the program in the coming weeks.

“Countless numbers of Stanislaus residents are hurting right now and fear the unknown,” added Stanislaus County Supervisor Terry Withrow. “The County has been and continues to be committed to doing everything we can to support individuals who are struggling as a result of COVID-19. This program will be a critical tool in our efforts toward helping people get back on their feet.”

Meanwhile, Harder, who won re-election in November and represents Oakdale, Escalon and Riverbank, will continue to serve on the House Committee on Agriculture for this term in Congress after successfully obtaining a waiver from the House Steering and Policy Committee. Members of the House who are appointed to the Appropriations Committee typically serve solely on that committee. If a member wishes to serve on an additional committee, they must seek out and obtain a special waiver allowing them to serve on an additional committee.

“This is the best-case scenario for the Valley. I get to fight for the funding we deserve on the Appropriations Committee – and I can continue my work on behalf of our farmers by serving on the Agriculture Committee once again,” said Harder. “It’s particularly important for me to serve on Ag this term as I’ll focus on our specialty crop producers when we look at drafting the next Farm Bill.”

Last month, Harder announced that he had been appointed to the House Appropriations Committee. The Committee is responsible for drafting all funding legislation in the House and will give Rep. Harder an opportunity to secure more funding for the Central Valley.