REGION – Starting today, low-income renters throughout the San Diego region who have experienced COVID-19-related loss of income will be able to apply for additional rental and utility assistance grants.
San Diego County’s Emergency Rental Assistance Program, funded by more than $100 million in state and federal money, is intended to help lessen housing cost burdens and maintain housing stability.
The program will primarily aid eligible people who are behind on rent and/or utility payments, covering the period from April 2020 to March 2021. Utilities include costs such as electricity, gas, water and sewer, trash and other energy costs not included in the rent.
“This is a new lifeline for people who are having trouble making ends meet due to the pandemic,” said County Supervisor Terra Lawson-Remer. “We want to make sure this public health crisis does not leave San Diegans in debt or without a home. If you are having trouble paying rent or utilities, we are here to help.”
The amount of rental arrears covered will depend on whether the landlord agrees to participate in the program. Landlords owed back rent can also apply on behalf of their tenants.
To be eligible, households must be renting and have experienced a financial hardship directly or indirectly related to COVID-19, or have qualified for unemployment during the pandemic. Eligible hardships include a reduction in household income, incurring significant costs or experiencing other financial hardships.
Households must also earn no more than 80% area median income to qualify – for example, a single-person household can earn up to $64,700 and a four-person household can earn up to $92,400 – and must be either at risk of homelessness or facing housing instability.
The county will review applications based on federal, state and county prioritization categories. Those who apply will be able to check their application status online at any point in the process.
First priority will be given to applicants whose household income is at or below 50% of area median income and households that have one or more members who have been unemployed at least 90 days from the date of application.
Applications will be further prioritized to reach single-parent households and residents who live in areas that have less access to healthy opportunities based on the Healthy Places Index.
The Emergency Rental Assistance Program will assist San Diego residents countywide, except for those residing in the cities of San Diego and Chula Vista. Residents of San Diego and Chula Vista can visit the program’s website here for information about rental assistance programs in those cities.
For the county program, applicants also must not receive any other forms of housing subsidy, such as through Section 8, other rental assistance programs, rapid rehousing assistance or rental assistance from nonprofit agencies.
For more information, including how to apply for the county’s program and detailed eligibility criteria, visit the website here. If you don’t have Internet or access to a computer, you can get help completing an application on or after Monday by calling 858-694-4801.