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Announcement About Emergency Rental Assistance Program

Posted on May 15, 2020


On Monday, May 4, the Petaluma City Council unanimously approved the allocation of $100,000 of Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funds to assist Petaluma’s low-income households affected by the COVID-19 crisis, with temporary rental assistance. The program will be administered by Petaluma People Services Center, a venerable local non-profit organization who serves thousands of people through more than 61 human-services program and also serves as the City’s Fair Housing program administrator.

The funding was an allocation from the Federal CARES Act, which included, one-time CDBG funds to entitlement jurisdictions of which the City of Petaluma is one of two in the County, to address local impacts of the coronavirus. The City has been allocated $206,544 of those funds.

The City identified the need to provide low-income households with assistance to reduce the devastating economic impacts due to the pandemic, including temporary rental assistance, and also support to homeless families and individuals. That determination was based upon the alignment of possible uses of the COVID-19 CDBG funding allocation and the City’s goals including:

  • Ensuring that the funds are rapidly deployed to Petalumans in need.
  • Assisting Petaluma’s most vulnerable families and individuals who may be unable to pay rent during this crisis due to loss of income.
  • Preventing Petalumans from falling into homelessness.
  • Leveraging agreements with landlords to maximize the relief for Petaluma residents.

This program is an expansion of PPSC’s existing rental assistance program, which has been modified to meet the needs of both tenants and landlords as we all work to find solutions to keeping people housed. This rental assistance effort is in place to support low and very-low income Petaluma individuals and/or address the needs for housing, shelter and support services for families and individuals. For more information and program details please contact fairhousing@petalumapeople.org or PPSC at 707-765-8488.

“We launched this program on May 5 and have already begun funding,” Elece Hempel executive director of PPSC shared, “we are thrilled that it is not just tenants calling PPSC but landlords are reaching out also.” “When we get to the other side of this pandemic, we want to make sure those who lost their jobs are able to focus on finding employment and can do that because they are not worried about their family losing their housing”.

According to Bloomberg Citylab Daily the United States experienced “a record 20.5 million jobs lost in April”.   In response to the COVID-19 emergency, the City of Petaluma and PPSC are collaborating to support families and individuals that have lost income and are struggling to pay their rent.  The primary objective of the CDBG program is the development of “viable urban communities by providing decent housing and a suitable living environment and expanding economic opportunities for persons of low and moderate income.”

“We are thankful for the opportunity to get this funding to our residents in-need quickly, and through a trusted and proven non-profit partner,” said City Manager Peggy Flynn. “And we hope that it can provide enough relief to prevent further risk of homelessness in our community.”

To apply for this program individuals and families that live in Petaluma, can email fairhousing@petalumapeople.org to get an application emailed to them in English or Spanish or they can visit www.petalumapeople.org to obtain the application and information about the process of applying or contact Elece Hempel, Petaluma People Services Center, Elece@petalumapeople.org, 707-765-8488.

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