Low-income San Diegans who have experienced financial hardships due to the COVID-19 pandemic can now begin applying for one-time emergency financial help to pay their rent.
The program, which the San Diego Housing Commission is administering for the city, will provide up to $4,000 per household to help eligible families and individuals pay past-due and upcoming rent.
Online applications will be accepted through Aug. 7. Payments are expected to be made beginning in mid-August and continuing through September and potentially into October.
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"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 City Councilman Chris Ward, who proposed San Diego's COVID-19 Emergency Rental Assistance Program. "We have protected our unsheltered. We have supported our small businesses. Now we must meet our obligations to the renters of this city."
The council voted 9-0 on June 30 to authorize the expenditure of $15.1 million in federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act funds for the emergency rental assistance program.
The public can apply for the program at covidapplication.sdhc.org.
"The launch of this online application is a crucial first step to help provide this essential financial assistance as soon as possible to San Diego households struggling because of COVID-19," San Diego Housing Commission President and CEO Richard C. Gentry said.
Around 3,500 households could receive emergency rental assistance through the program, if all households received the maximum of $4,000. SDHC staff will coordinate with selected applicants and their landlord or property management company to disburse payments. All payments will be made directly to the landlord or property management company by direct deposit.
To be eligible for the program, households must have a San Diego address; 60% or below of the area median income -- $64,200 per year for a family of four; must not be receiving any rental subsidies; must not be a tenant of a property owned or managed by SDHC, must not have savings with which they can meet the rent; have eligible immigration status; and have experienced hardship related to the pandemic.
All applicants who meet the eligibility requirements will have the opportunity to be selected to receive assistance. Priority will be given to families with minor children and households with at least one person age 62 or older. Applications will be sorted and assigned numbers at random to identify the applicants who will receive help to pay their rent.
To apply, tenants need to have their landlord's name, email address, mailing address and phone number. Applicants are also required to upload and submit supporting documents such as a driver's license, most recent lease agreement, current utility bill, documentation of household income and documentation demonstrating loss of income or increase in medical expenses due to COVID-19.
SDHC will be partnering with community-based organizations, which will assist with community outreach and will be available to help eligible households complete the online application.
Philanthropic donations also are encouraged to support the program. Donations payable to SDHC Building Opportunities Inc., SDHC's nonprofit affiliate, may be made through the nonprofit's GoFundMe charity page. For more information about making a donation, inquire here.
For information about programs in response to COVID-19, click here.