How to Apply for Pandemic-Related Rental Assistance in San Diego County

All residents in San Diego County are eligible for rental assistance through one of three programs if they -- or their landlords -- can prove they meet the criteria

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San Diego County residents struggling to pay rent due to the coronavirus pandemic have more rental assistance available to them through three different programs, municipalities announced.

The county of San Diego and the cities of Chula Vista and San Diego have extended or made available rental assistance programs, which together cover residents in all areas of the county who qualify.

In San Diego, Mayor Todd Gloria along with other housing and city leaders on Monday, May 15, announced applications were open for more than $83 million available to low-income renters through the Housing Stability Assistance Program.

A week later, he issued a new call to the city's workforce, urging them to apply for the aid.

"For the Housing Stability Assistance Program to reach the San Diegans who need it most, it’s critical that we spread the word,” Gloria said.

Applications are also open for Chula Vista residents who need to apply for rental assistance and utility bill assistance. The city has $16.8 million in state and federal funds to distribute through the Chula Vista Emergency Rental Assistance Program.

And for struggling residents in unincorporated San Diego, Carlsbad, Coronado, Del Mar, El Cajon, Encinitas, Escondido, Imperial Beach, La Mesa, Lemon Grove, National City, Oceanside, Poway, San Marcos, Santee, Solana Beach, and Vista, San Diego County has funds to assist.

All three rental assistance programs work similarly. Here's How:

The programs pay 80% of a tenant's past-due rent from April 1, 2020, to March 31, 2021, directly to landlords who agree to certain terms, including agreeing to waive the remaining 20%. If not, the program will pay a tenant directly 25% of their past-due rent instead.

Do I qualify for rental assistance in San Diego County?

To be eligible, applicants must be a tenant in their specific municipality, must have an income below 80% of the county's current median income ( $92,400 a year for a family of four), and has had at least one member of their household experience some sort of financial hardship due to COVID-19. Priority will be given to the lowest-income households (less than 50% of the median income) and those who have suffered long-term unemployment.

Landlords, community-based organizations and 211 San Diego are also able to file applications on behalf of tenants.

All three municipalities will use the funds to pay past-due rent first but if additional funds are available, could use the money to pay rent through June 2021, utilities and more.

How to apply for rental assistance in San Diego County

To apply for rental assistance as a San Diego resident, go to the San Diego Housing Commission's website here. To apply as a Chula Vista resident, visit Chula Vista's emergency rental assistance program website here. And to apply as a resident of an area covered by the county, visit here.

Each program is also utilizing the help of community groups to aid those who may struggle to apply for the financial aid, including those with language barriers or internet access restraints.

San Diegans who need help with their applications or have questions about the program can call (619) 535-6921.

Chula Vista residents in need of assistance should call (619) 271-1805.

San Diego County residents in need of assistance should call (858) 694-4801.

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