Hi dear neighbors,
We as UASRA board met with Sarah Dundish, Director, Housing Services & Strategic Initiatives at UCLA, on August 24, 2021 to discuss about UCLA's stand on supporting the residents at UCLA housing, who underwent/are undergoing financial crisis owing to covid hardship and need rent assistance.
Brief background: Owing to Covid related hardships, some of our neighbors at ucla housing were not in a condition to pay rent from last year March, 2020 and have unpaid rent since then. Over the period of one year, residents came together as 'UCLA-Tenants union' to spread the word and the impact the covid financial crisis has had on families. In June 2021, the Tenant Union also submitted a petiition signed by residents to Chancellor Gene Block requesting UCLA to support the residents with financial help either by accepting state relief funds or UCLA’s own funds. In spring, the state relief fund application portal under SB-91 had opened where most of rent-withholding neighbors had applied. Many neighbors also applied for assistance via ERAP. So far, most of these funds haven’t been mobilized.
However, in June, there were additions to the SB-91 clause (80% rent coverge) and legislative bill as AB-832 was signed, which promised landlords and tenants of 100% rent relief coverage for a maximum 18 months, from March 2020 until October 2021.
In our new term at UASRA, from July 2021 (July 2021 UASRA update), we kept the Tenant Union requests as one of our top priority and requested housing and ResLife to help us gain insights into the progress being made by UCLA housing office in this regard.
Good news, finally: In our August 24 meeting, Sarah gave us the good news that she has done all the research and between State policy and local city policy, there is now the permission to go ahead.
A community wide email will soon be sent from Sarah, encouraging people to apply to receive full relief coverage.
It will also cover past residents who moved out of UCLA housing during covid and as soon as the application opens (Sept 1, 2021), students will be able to fill up the form and add either her email or uclahousing as the landlord.
A full description of how to apply and what information to put will be covered in Sarah's email.
If people have already recieved some funds, the amount will be deducted from total of 18 months’ rent and remaining amount will be compensated.
As we look forward to the opening of the portal, we want to thank you all so much for your patience, sadly some of the neighbors had to take out student loans to pay some of the surmounting rent, but for them, any remaining amount will be covered.
Neighbors who have out moved will also receive emails from Sarah, with detailed step by step instructions on how to apply and some of documents will be made to be self-attested to ease the process of application.
Acknowledgement: We are very grateful to the residents who have waited patiently to receive help despite facing financial crisis, Tenant Union at UCLA to help voice the cause, ResLife to help secure meetings with UCLA housing officials and UCLA housing admin office for helping and supporting our neighbors' efforts.
The struggles of the families are real and we also thank all those families who have stood with the struggling families in solidarity, they did not withhold rent to amass wealth, but to provide support and offered their voices for social justice. Indeed, there is power in unity, kindness and empathy!
We will continue to support our neighbors and use our platform at UASRA to represent their voices and needs and empower all families. Our efforts have been and will always be for the community to come together.
Awaiting Next steps:
The application portal opens on Sept 1, 2021: State relief application portal. Please re-apply even if you had applied in Spring.
Community wide email from UCLA hosuing/ Sarah Dundish's office
Details on AB 832 and full coverage of withheld rent to landlords
Thank you so much for your support, please reach out to us with your feedback and suggestions to firstname.lastname@example.org and we will continue to improve and refine our work.
With best regards,
UASRA President, 2021-2022
On behalf of the entire UASRA team