Written by Julianne Foster
For the first time since the economy has been sliding down due to COVID-19, the concerns of landlords have been heard and addressed. Along with extending the eviction moratorium to September 30, the San Diego City Council has now made a Rental Assistance Program available to help renters pay their bills instead of avoiding them completely.
On June 30, the City Council voted unanimously to authorize the use of $15.1 million in federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act funds to support the emergency rental assistance program.
“San Diego’s rental assistance program will directly assist individuals and families struggling to make rent and help recover the financial loss of landlords,” said Councilman Ward. “We have protected our unsheltered. We have supported our small businesses. Now we must meet our obligations to the renters of this city.”
The San Diego Housing Commission is distributing the funds to low income San Diegans who qualify for such financial help. Online applications are being accepted for review through August 7 as payments are expected to be made on past-due and upcoming rent mid-August possibly through October. Those who qualify will receive $4,000 per household, with this being estimated to reach 3,500 households. To ensure the funds serve their purpose as rental assistance, the SDHC staff will be making the payments via direct deposit directly to landlords.
Applicants are only eligible for the program if the household income is 60% or below the median income, the residents are not receiving rental subsidies, they must not be a tenant of property owned or managed by SDHC, must not have alternative savings that could pay the rent, must have eligible immigration status, and their financial hardship must be related to the pandemic. Additionally, households with minors will be given priority among applicants.
Struggling renters can apply for this program here. They will need some personal information regarding the landlord and themselves. They also must present supporting documents such as a driver’s license, their most recent lease agreement, current utility bill, documentation of household income, and other documents which prove their financial hardships are due to loss of income or increase in medical bills as a result of COVID-19.