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City of San Marcos launches Rental Assistance Program

SAN MARCOS – The City of San Marcos has launched a new Rental Assistance Program to help renters who have been financially impacted by the COVID-19 crisis.

The program, which was approved by San Marcos City Council back in June, aims to provide financial assistance to residents experiencing a loss of income directly related to COVID-19.

It provides residential rental assistance (up to $10,000, total) to residents whose incomes are at or below 80% of the Area Median Income, who were current with rent payments prior to March 16, 2020, and who are otherwise in good financial standing, according to the city.

Funding for the program comes from the Coronavirus Response portion of the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG), which is an aspect of federal CARES Act funding rolled into the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).

“It was important for us to extend a helping hand to renters that are facing extreme financial hardships,” said Lisa Fowler, City of San Marcos Finance Director. “A lot of the funding that’s provided through the CARES Act is dedicated to other purposes, and we felt that we needed to do some outreach to our residents and provide them with relief.”

The program has set aside $1,051,615 of the grant to help renters, and the city expects that funds will likely be fully expended by June 30, 2021.

The city said that Applicants with the lowest income levels will receive priority over other eligible applicants, and residents may receive up to $10,000 per household, per application, for up to six months of partial or full rent.

A rent reasonableness assessment may be conducted by the program administrator to determine the amount of assistance that will be provided.

The new program comes a few months after the city’s temporary eviction moratorium lapsed on June 30.

The moratorium, which was initially enacted on March 24, temporarily suspended evictions of residential and commercial tenants who were unable to pay rent, however it has since not been extended.

“This was really in response to making sure that our low to moderate-income residents in San Marcos have support,” Fowler said. “It’s also really preventative of homelessness. The purpose is so that people can stay in their homes.”

Residents can learn more about the program through the city’s website.