Anthony Espinoza grew up in Oxnard and lives down the street from a nearby park, but he may not live there much longer if he doesn’t get the COVID rent relief from the state that he says he desperately needs.
“It’s not right. People got families to feed. They’ve got to provide,” Espinoza said.
In his case, an 8-year-old daughter named Aisleen.
Espinoza says he worked as an interior carpenter until COVID kept him out of people’s homes.
“I was pretty much forced out of my job,” he said.
He says he applied for COVID rent relief from the state back in September and hasn’t heard a word since.
“I have not got paid. I have not got a dime or anything, and I’ve been out of a job since,” Espinoza said. “Luckily, the landlord that I live with has been good and has let me live there pretty much rent free almost this whole time.”
But Espinoza is not alone. The latest data shows more than 190,000 California households, or roughly 41% are still waiting for assistance.
“I know there’s people who are out there with worse situations with either multiple kids or who are out there in the street right now who don’t have as friendly or lenient landlord as I have,” he said.
What frustrates him the most is the total lack of communication. Since January, he has sent close to 20 emails following up with no reply and when he’s tried calling the hotline, he says the people answering the phone calls have been “absolutely no help” since they can only confirm what they see in the portal but can’t explain why.
That’s when he reached out to “Inside the Issues” for help. The California Business, Consumer Services and Housing Agency wouldn’t comment on his specific case and directed me to their rent relief website, where it states:
“While we know rent relief is an urgent issue for all applicants, to ensure that those most in need receive assistance, the state will first review and commit funds to applicants who are income-eligible and who are at the greatest risk of eviction.”
So, for now, Espinoza is left waiting in what feels like a high stakes bureaucratic nightmare.
“Trying to take it day by day and hopefully this money comes in because I don’t want to be evicted from my home.”