(CALMATTERS) – Back in July, Gov. Newsom was all but begging desperate Californians to apply for rent relief. Since then tens of thousands have. 

But most are still waiting

The state had $5.2 billion in aid from the federal government to help cash-strapped renters stay in their homes. But in a pattern seen across the country, that money hasn’t been getting out the door

What’s the hold up? Consider the laundry list of problems that have regularly beset the state’s pandemic response programs: Faulty websites, confusing application process, language barriers, overwhelmed bureaucracies and people simply not knowing that help is available.

Cities that have opted to run their own programs haven’t fared much better.

We have the capacity to go online. We know our way around. It’s a wonder how people who have less access are able to make their way through this ordeal.

Gabriel Guzman, who sought help from the Chula Vista rent relief program

In April, the city of Los Angeles was swamped with requests for aid, blew through its allotment and stopped taking applications. It’s not clear when more cash will arrive so tenant advocacy groups are sounding the alarm and urging the city to open a new waitlist, CalMatters Nigel Duara reports.

For the time being, Californians are legally protected from eviction — except for those who aren’t. But that moratorium ends after Sept. 30.

That can’t come soon enough for some. Last week, a group representing the state’s landlords sued the state over the eviction ban. And Monday, developer Geoff Palmer (a major donor to the recall campaign) took the city of Los Angeles to court over its local eviction protections, asking for $100 million in damages.

Meanwhile, the Legislature is stuck on major housing bills. In the new episode of “Gimme Shelter,” co-host Manuela Tobias of CalMatters talks to a former policy aide about why it’s so difficult.