Two days ago, we caught up with Kamila Miller who was protesting for the state to extend the rent relief program.
We tracked it Friday, 24 hours after AB 2179 passed. This bill protects tenants from eviction for the next 90 days if they apply for the Housing Is Key program.
“It’s another stopwatch,” Kamilah Miller said and added, “I have no idea how we would survive if we were to be homeless three months from now. That wouldn’t even be square one. Like oh my God. That would be below square one. Our car is even broken down right now. Last time at least we had the car.”
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As we entered her home, she showed us her greatest achievement, her degree in child development.
“I was pregnant. I had a child while I was graduating and working,” Kamilah said.
Her dining room became her babysitting business. This house is also where her 6 children are homeschooled and ultimately their home. They’re two months behind on rent.
The Millers are one of more than 350,000 Californians who have applied for the “Housing is Key” program and are still waiting for the state to pay their landlords. Her 15-year-old is considering finding a job.
“It hurts, it crushes,” Miller said and added, “I don’t want him to have that same pressure. I don’t want him to feel like he’s got this thing where he has to work so hard as a young just eat.”
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Their whole family was homeless six years ago. Kamilah is trying to get more children to join her daycare and her husband works two jobs. They teach their children that with hard work, anything is possible.
Luz Pena: “Your fear is that whatever you teach your children…? »
Kamilah Miller: “It doesn’t mean anything. If we can’t even keep a roof over it because our hard work means nothing.”
On the other hand, homeowners are also struggling. The state processes approximately 9,000 requests per week. At this rate it will take 9 months for the State to deal with the backlog alone.
“90 days from now this suggests that a good majority of applications that still need to be processed will not be. By our calculations this could be somewhere between 150,000 and 180,000 and so that in itself tells us that there there is not enough time to process applications and so there will be another extension,” said Derek Barnes, East Bay Rental Housing Association.
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Barnes said some homeowners are on the verge of losing their properties.
“The fear is that households that were and continue to be in these feasible situations will not receive the relief fund. Which ripples through to small property owners unable to collect rent, unable to pay taxes, unable to pay their mortgage and other expenses of running these businesses,” Barnes said.
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As for Kamilah, she tries to stay the course for her children.
Luz Pena: “You smile, but I still see a lot of pain behind that smile.”
Kamilah Miller: “Yeah. It’s a mom thing. As a mom, you have to smile and you can’t show them.”
To help the Millers while they wait for state assistance, you can donate to their GoFundMe.
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