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San Diego County Reopens COVID-19 Rental Assistance Application Period

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Photo by Max Rivlin-Nadler

Above: Part of a "Rent-Strike" Caravan that drove through San Diego County on Friday, May 1, 2020.

An additional 10,000 households economically impacted by COVID-19 are able to apply for rent relief from San Diego County Tuesday, part of $27 million county supervisors allocated for just such a purpose.

County residents economically impacted by the pandemic could qualify for assistance of up to $3,000 to pay for past-due or upcoming rent through the second wave of the Emergency Rental Assistance Program starting Tuesday.

Listen to this story by Max Rivlin-Nadler.

County leaders are anticipating awarding more than $10 million in assistance to residents who applied during the first round of applications at the beginning of October, although details about when that money is expected are scarce.

"Right now a lot of renters are protected under the eviction moratoriums, but those protections are running out early next year. So if you have been impacted financially by COVID and you’re behind on rent, this kind of assistance is very valuable," Nicholas Martinez, deputy director of the county's Housing and Community Development Services, told KPBS.

RELATED: Tracking COVID-19 In San Diego County

For the new round of funding, the county will review applications as they are received and will continue to take applications until funds are depleted. Those who apply will be able to check their application status online at any point in the process.

To be eligible, households must be renting and have experienced a financial hardship directly related to COVID-19. This includes a loss or reduction of income or an increase in medical expenses.

Households must also fall under 60% of the area median income to qualify. For example, to be eligible, a single-person household can earn up to $48,540 and a four-person household can earn up to $69,300. The program will be able to assist about 10,000 households.

"The application doesn’t take very long, takes ten to fifteen minutes to fill out the application. We will work with people for the verification documents after they apply," Martinez said.

Reported by Max Rivlin-Nadler

Residents who live in cities with their own COVID-19 rental relief program will not be eligible for the county program unless their cities' funds have already been depleted.

Also, applicants must not receive any other forms of housing subsidy, such as Section 8 or other rental assistance programs, rapid rehousing assistance or rental assistance from nonprofit agencies.

Only one application per household will be accepted and the applicant's landlord must agree to participate in the program for the county of San Diego to process the emergency rental assistance grant.

Applicants can find more program information, including how to apply and detailed eligibility criteria, at www.SDHCD.org.

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