Assessing the Impact of Fresno’s Eviction Protection Program

Orange background with white arches for City of Fresno Eviction Protection Program

January 24, 2024

In partnership with the City of Fresno, RSG conducted a comprehensive assessment and prepared a report that showcases the City’s Eviction Protection Program’s successes, challenges, and opportunities for improvement. On May 13, 2021, the City of Fresno took a significant step by adopting an Eviction Protection Program (“EPP”) to safeguard tenants facing potential unlawful evictions. The program, officially launched on July 27, 2021, was complemented by the Emergency Rental Assistance Program (“ERAP”), offering support to tenants affected by COVID-19-related financial distress. The EPP was designed to provide legal assistance to residential tenants facing unlawful evictions within the City of Fresno. Eligible participants can receive representation from city-sponsored attorneys.

After over a year of administering the EPP, the City of Fresno took the diligent step in seeking to determine the effectiveness of the program. In early 2023, the City entrusted RSG to evaluate the effectiveness of the EPP. A full report of the findings was commissioned by the City Council. RSG’s assessment of the EPP comprised four stages, including interviewing key stakeholders, data collection, analysis, and reporting. This methodology aimed to identify program areas, best practices, and areas for improvement.

According to RSG’s findings, the program has successfully prevented numerous eviction cases, particularly those related to nonpayment of rent. However, challenges loom on the horizon. The expiration of tenant protections tied to the COVID-19 state of emergency and the approaching end of funding for both the EPP and ERAP present potential obstacles. RSG’s report suggests that additional funding and significant changes may be necessary for the program to maintain its impact.

Additionally, RSG made recommendations to enhance the program’s effectiveness. One recommendation was implementing stricter application threshold requirements and adopting additional measures to gather program outcomes for future analysis. RSG’s report suggests several changes to reduce program confusion and better meet residents’ needs facing eviction. These include considerations for tenants with special needs, increased education and outreach, additional rental assistance, and more support for tenants after eviction. The proposed considerations aim to strengthen the program’s impact, financial sustainability, and community outreach. If you are interested in seeing how we can help your city asses the needs of an Eviction Protective Program, please send us a message to connect!