By CBSLA Staff

LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) — Gov. Gavin Newsom was in Bell Gardens Wednesday to promote the state’s $5.2 billion program to pay back 100% of rent for low-income renters affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“If we see mass evictions, we will have seen something we’ve never experienced in our lifetime, and that’s the number of people on streets and sidewalks that will overwhelm. That’s why this program is so important,” Newsom said.

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The program is part of the state’s 2021-22 fiscal year budget, which Newsom signed Monday.

Applicants can receive 100% of rent owed from April 2020 and through September 2021. Newsom urged people to apply as soon as possible to ensure they receive the money before the eviction moratorium expires on Sept. 30. He added that there was only a “very modest” chance that it would be extended again.

Two women who applied for the rental assistance said that they were initially skeptical.

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“I didn’t believe it either, I didn’t think it was true. It’s true. You guys have to apply, they’re going to help you. Don’t not do it, we all have to do this,” a woman from South Gate said.

Another woman, who said she owed two months of rent, said, “People don’t believe it, but it does work. It’s true.”

Renters who applied during the state’s previous program and received 25% or 80% of their owed rent do not need to apply again, Newsom said.

Renters and landlords can apply for the program here.

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(© Copyright 2020 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. City News Service contributed to this report.)