'It hurts': Antioch mom of 6 says her teen child is looking for job as rent relief backlog continues

The Millers are one of more than 350K Californians who applied for "Housing is Key" program, waiting for state to pay landlords

Luz Pena Image
Saturday, April 2, 2022
Bay Area mom of 6, family impacted by CA's rent relief backlog
After California extended its rent relief program by three months, preventing the eviction of thousands of people, families are waiting for state aid.

ANTIOCH, Calif. (KGO) -- California extended the rent relief program for the next three months preventing the eviction of hundreds of thousands of people who have been waiting on financial aid from the state.

Two days ago, we met Kamila Miller protesting for the state to extend the rent relief program.

We followed up with her on Friday, 24 hours since AB 2179 passed. This bill is protecting tenants from eviction for the next 90 days if they applied for the "Housing is Key" program.

"It's another stopwatch," said Kamilah Miller and added, "I have no idea how we would survive if we had to be homeless in three months. It wouldn't even be square one. Like oh God. It would be below square one. Our car is even down right now. Last time at least we had the car."

RELATED: Fraudulent rent relief claims divert funds, delay responses to those in need

One security expert believes that 25 to 30% of rent relief claims are fraudulent.

As we walked inside her home she showed us her biggest accomplishment her child development degree.

"I was pregnant. I had a child while getting my degree and working," said Kamilah.

Her dining room turned into her childcare business. This house is also where her 6 kids homeschool and ultimately their home. They are two months behind in rent.

The Millers are one of more than 350,000 Californians who applied for the "Housing is Key" program and are still waiting for the state to pay their landlords. Her 15-year-old teen is thinking about finding a job.

"It hurts it crushes," said Miller and added, "I don't want him to have that same pressure. I don't want him to feel like he has this thing where he needs to work so hard as a young person just to eat."

RELATED: Single mom of 3 who helped families apply for rent relief could be homeless when CA program expires

California's rent relief program "Housing is Key" expires next Thursday. Many applicants are still waiting for financial aid.
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Their entire family was homeless six years ago. Kamilah is trying to get more kids to join her childcare and her husband is working two jobs. They are teaching their kids that with hard work anything is possible.

Luz Pena: "Your fear is that everything you are teaching your kids..?"

Kamilah Miller: "Means nothing. If we can't even keep a roof because our hard work means nothing."

On the other hand landlords are also struggling. The state is processing about 9 thousand applications a week. At this rate it will take 9 months for the state to process the backlog alone.

"In 90 days that suggest that a good majority of the applications that still need to be processed won't be processed. By our calculations that could be somewhere in the 150,000 - 180,000 mark and so that on itself tell us there isn't enough time to process the applications and therefore there will be another extension," said Derek Barnes, East Bay Rental Housing Association.

RELATED: Delays in state assistance frustrate local family. What's behind the delays?

After Comcast cut its services, the state blamed them for the delay in processing the payment. The state had sent a paper check to Comcast that the utility said did not get processed until after the deadline.

Barnes said some landlords are on the verge of losing their properties.

"The fear is that household that were and continue to be in these attainable situations they are not getting the relief fund. Which trickles to small property owner not able to collect rent, not able to pay taxes, not been able to pay for their mortgage and other expenses in running that businesses," said Barnes.

RELATED: California lawmakers extend eviction ban for some renters

California lawmakers voted Thursday to extend a law that protects renters just hours before it was scheduled to expire.

As to Kamilah she is trying to keep it together for her kids.

Luz Pena: "You are smiling, but I still see a lot of pain behind that smile."

Kamilah Miller: "Yeah. It's a mom thing. As a mom we have to smile and we can't show them."

To help the Millers while they wait on the states aid you can donate to their GoFundMe.