NOTICE: California COVID-19 Rent Relief Program

February 23, 2023

Last year, three community groups sued the State of California over its Covid-19 rent relief program. The lawsuit said the program operates in an unclear and discriminatory way, and doesn’t provide adequate explanation to renters who are denied help.

In July 2022, a judge agreed with the plaintiffs. He said California’s denial notices are too vague, don’t tell applicants which of their documents led to denial, and make it difficult for denied applicants to appeal.

The judge ordered the state to stop denying any more rent relief applications until the court could further examine the case. But, the judge did NOT stop the State of California from continuing to process applications, approve applications, or issue payments to approved applicants.

As of the date of this notice, the state has not provided the court with a denial notice that meets due process standards. And the state is still not allowed to deny any pending applications. We urge you to continue contacting the Housing is Key program if you were approved but have not yet received payment, or if your application has been pending since 2021.

If you need legal help, you can find legal resources in your area at You can also reach out to your state representatives to tell them your story and how this program is holding up much needed emergency help for Californians:

Lastly, Public Counsel may be able to share your story with elected officials. If you want to share your story, click HERE to fill out our form. (Please note: this form is only to share your story and is not an application for services).

ACCESAJE, and PolicyLink filed the lawsuit. Public Counsel, Western Center on Law & Poverty, LAFLA, and Covington & Burling represent the plaintiffs. 

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