The deadline for rent aid is fast approaching in Kern County

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KERO) — Time is running out for those still seeking rental assistance through Kern County. But what are the options for those who have already applied but have been rejected? Well, there is some hope.

There are many reasons why someone would be denied rental assistance. Most people who apply for jobs juggle a whole host of other life decisions. And since the application process can be confusing, it’s important to keep up with it.

That’s why April Hernandez, an eviction assistance project coordinator with Greater Bakersfield Legal Aidwho has worked with people seeking help for hiring, says it’s important to get the appeal within 10 days of the letter’s date.

“Usually when an appeal is submitted, after it has been processed, the housing allowance is awarded.”

The point is, she says many don’t know that’s an option. In addition, sometimes simple document changes are necessary to reverse the decision.

“It could be something like updated income verification. So initially, when you apply, your documents may be current, but from the time an application is submitted to the time of processing, because you know that time frame, it can become reviewed when the documents are no longer up to date, so those documents must be resubmitted in order to process the application.”

The Kern County Housing Authority says the denials are for the most part due to people being over income, trying to extend benefits, or failing to provide proper documentation. Adding them will get them in touch before denying the application. That is why it is important to regularly check your email or online portal.

If you are rejected, you can appeal via a written letter or e-mail to the Housing Authority.

“So we’re basically looking into the appeal to see if the denial decision was valid or not valid,” said Heather Kimmel, the assistant executive director at Kern’s Housing Authority.

The housing authority says just over half of the roughly 26,000 applications have been funded and with the deadline in weeks, acting quickly is key.

“You know that when you get the rejection letter, don’t wait, because when those ten days are up, you know, they’re up, and you have to reapply and go through the process again,” Hernandez explained.

But if you wait until the last minute to submit an application and are rejected, your 10-day period to appeal will still stand. And while hundreds of applications are still coming in, the province is seeing a trend in the right direction.

“At the beginning of the program, people applied and they were 12 months past due on their rent, whereas now we don’t see them that long overdue,” Kimmel said.

For those who need help apply or a denial, please contact the GBLA at (661) 325-5943. They don’t have an answering machine and ask you to keep trying if no one answers.

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