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Council member Bruce Whitaker discusses the action plan for the Rental Assistance Program.

The Fullerton City Council unanimously passed an Emergency Rental Assistance Program on Tuesday to aid those financially impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic

Applicants will be awarded a one-time allotment of up to $1,000 per household based on their needs. 

The issue was first brought up at a council meeting on June 2, where the council directed staff to look at possible financial relief options through the Federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act, also known as the CARES Act.

Staff recommended approximately $250,000 in funds from the CARES Act Community Development Block Grant to be reallocated to the Emergency Rental Assistance Program for impacted Fullerton residents. 

The federal grant is meant to be employed by states and local governments for economic and community development efforts, like disaster-affected areas. 

However, the Community Development Citizens Committee met on Monday to discuss the Emergency Rental Assistance Program and recommended increasing the fund to $300,000 by taking away $50,000 from the Small Business Loan Program. This was ultimately passed. 

Fullerton residents who are applying for this program must have a current lease agreement and live in a qualifying rental unit.

Applicants must meet the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s maximum household income level, submit evidence of their current rental balance and provide identification, such as a driver’s license or California ID. 

Residents must have documented proof of having suffered economic impact due to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

“It’s clearly a worthy use of these funds and should more funds be found or made available then they could be put to very good use,” said Councilmember Bruce Whitaker. 

Information will be available on the City of Fullerton’s website, while applications will be submitted through a variety of methods to make the process easily accessible to Fullerton residents.

“We’ll be taking both written applications, online applications, mailed in, faxed in,” said Kelle Fritzal, Deputy Director of Community and Economic Development. “We will make sure we publicize it.”

She added that if everyone receives $1000, this program can assist 300 residents. 

These funds will expire at the end of the year and will be allocated until Dec. 31, or for as long as money is available according to Fritzal. 

About 19 speakers vocalized their support of the program and shared stories of unemployment since the stay-at-home mandate was issued in March, as well as a lack of assistance from the government because of their citizenship status.

“It’s a very stressful situation for those of us who don’t have any sort of support because of our legal status, which is why we’d be deeply grateful if you were to support us in any way,” said one speaker. “As little as it may be, we will be very thankful.” 

Several also said that due to being undocumented there were no resources available to those who relied on the Individual Taxpayer Identification Number, which is a tax processing number for those who do not have a social security number in order to comply with U.S. tax laws.   

 Social Security cards will not be necessary to qualify for the recently passed grant. 

“I have not received any support from any source, it would be a tremendous blessing for me that you would take into account those that work with an (Individual Taxpayer Identification Number) because we are the ones most affected by the COVID pandemic,” said another speaker. 

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