‘Profoundly unfair.’ California tenants sue state over COVID rental aid program

California tenants have filed a lawsuit against the agency that runs the state’s COVID-19 emergency rent relief program, saying it “disproportionately harms tenants on the basis of race, color, and national origin.”

Tenant rights organizations Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment and Strategic Actions for a Just Economy announced Monday they joined with research institute PolicyLink to sue the California Department of Housing and Community Development (HCD), which administers the rental assistance program.

The groups claim the program has denied funding to hundreds of thousands of tenants without specific reasons or adequate opportunities to appeal. HCD has also made it more challenging for non-English-speaking tenants to communicate with program officials, the lawsuit said.

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