CONTRA COSTA COUNTY, CA — The United Way Bay Area Rental Relief Fund, created by Wells Fargo, is providing rental assistance to 300 Bay Area families, including in Contra Costa County, through UWBA’s existing network of SparkPoint Centers and community partners. Rental assistance began in July and is offered to residents in Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, Napa, San Francisco, San Mateo, Santa Clara and Solano counties.
United Way Bay Area aims to leverage Wells Fargo’s $750,000 donation and raise an additional $2.5 million over the next six months, which allows United Way to serve more families with rental assistance across the region.
The economic impact of the coronavirus has added to an already challenging statewide housing market. According to the U.S. Census Bureau’s Household Pulse Survey administered in May 2020, 54 percent of California renters responded they are not highly confident in being able to pay next month’s rent.
"It is heartbreaking that many families have been particularly hard hit and are facing significant financial distress due to the COVID-19 economic slowdown, leading to housing instability," said Erica Trejo, community relations senior manager for Wells Fargo.
"Wells Fargo is committed to be part of the solution and help people from slipping into homelessness," Trejo said. "Our initial donation of $750,000 will help hundreds of families to get caught up or stay current on paying their rent, so they can continue to have a home as the economy recovers."
The funds are part of the $175 million that Wells Fargo announced to support nonprofits and communities playing a key role in COVID-19 relief efforts in food security, housing/shelter, small business and financial health.
Since March, United Way Bay Area — or UWBA— has raised and distributed more than $5.3 million for COVID-19 related support across eight counties in the Bay Area region.is part of UWBA’s post-COVID recovery strategy focused on increased need areas such as in education, childcare, mental health and financial stability.
Ten SparkPoint locations, including two in Contra Costa County, are distributing rental assistance funds to current and new SparkPoint clients who have experienced economic hardship due to COVID-19. The funding allows SparkPoint centers to address gaps that exist with other rental assistance funds and is distributed based on each SparkPoint center’s specific needs.
Launched in 2009, SparkPoint Centers are central to UWBA’s poverty-fighting efforts and were developed to work with low-income individuals and families long-term, looking at all aspects of their financial health, with the goal of achieving financial prosperity. SparkPoint serves more than 25,000 people with a network of 90 third-party partners. Over 80 percent of SparkPoint clients make progress on their financial goals each year.
In Contra Costa County, rental assistance is being distributed through SparkPoint locations in Richmond and Bay Point. For more information about the rental relief, call the West County Office at 510-779-3200, the East County Office at 925-252-2317, or send an email to email@example.com.
UWBA said it is also partnering with Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of San Francisco to distribute funding in two of the counties.
"The COVID-19 health crisis has further revealed the housing challenges and disparities across our region," said Kevin Zwick, Chief Executive Officer, UWBA. "We are excited that Wells Fargo is providing much-needed assistance to families impacted by our housing crisis, which has become a key part of our work to provide access to basic needs. The rental relief fund is a great example of how the nonprofit and private sectors can strengthen our communities by partnering together."