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Mayor Gloria Seeks More Rental Assistance Funding As Statewide Eviction Protections End

Mayor Todd Gloria discusses his plans to seek additional funding for the city's rental and utility assistance program. He is standing behind a podium thats reads, "A San Diego for All of Us." He is standing in front of a group of other people including, from left to right, Gilberto Vera, senior attorney, Legal Aid Society of San Diego, Nao Kabashima, executive director, Karen Organization of San Diego, City Council President pro Tem Stephen Whitburn,  District 3,  and City Councilmember Sean Elo-Rivera, District 9. They are standing on green grass. An apartment complex is visible in the background.
Cristina Kim
Mayor Todd Gloria discusses his plans to seek additional funding for the city's rental and utility assistance program at Colina Del Sol Park on September 27, 2021.

Mayor Todd Gloria highlighted Monday what he is touting as the success of the city's COVID-19 Housing Stability Assistance Program and announced a proposal to establish a $5 million legal defense fund to support struggling tenants.

The housing assistance program has provided more than $103 million in rent and utility relief to 11,806 San Diego households since it was opened to applications on March 15, according to the mayor's office. About $54 million more has been committed to renters whose applications have received preliminary approval, subject to review and confirmation of their documentation.

Mayor Gloria Seeks More Rental Assistance Funding As Statewide Eviction Protections End
Listen to this story by Cristina Kim.

"I am incredibly proud of the job our city has done to get assistance to residents who've been unable to pay their rent and utilities during this difficult time," Gloria said. "We are working with our partners at the state and federal level to try to make sure that every dollar that’s possible to get out there, that we can bring it to San Diego because if you entrust us with your dollars we will use them wisely and quickly.”


The program has a remaining $13 million of unclaimed assistance before it runs dry.

“Our expectation is that the money will go quickly and that’s why we are letting San Diegans know that if you initiated an application, now is the time to complete it,” he said.

Gloria is travelling to Washington DC on Tuesday to work with federal officials on a program that could provide additional rental assistance funding to San Diego. He is also advocating for additional state support to continue the rental assistance program.

City Councilmembers Stephen Whitburn 3 and Sean Elo-Rivera joined Gloria for the announcements. Both of their districts have received the highest number of applications for rental assistance.

"We can all be proud that the city of San Diego has had one of the most efficient rent-relief programs in the nation," said Whitburn. "I'm pleased the mayor is looking ahead at how we can provide information and assistance to renters in the event they face eviction."


Evictions can often lead to homelessness, and we simply can't afford to have more San Diegans living on the streets," he said.

The program is administered by the San Diego Housing Commission, which has received more than 23,561 applications since the program began. More than 23,148 additional applications have been started but have not yet been submitted.

"Home is the bedrock of security, health and success," said Elo- Rivera. "Since the beginning of the pandemic, the city of San Diego has preserved this bedrock by protecting residents from eviction, and by supporting them with rental and utility assistance."

However, due to overwhelming need, we've reached the capacity with our limited resources," he said. "Additional investments from our federal and state partners will be crucial in preventing a wave of homelessness, and to holding ourselves to our commitment to the ideal of housing for all."

Applications for assistance from the program can also provide additional protections for renters who may face potential eviction after California's temporary ban on evictions expires Thursday. Assembly Bill 832, which Gov. Gavin Newsom signed into law on June 28, includes additional protections for renters, effective Oct. 1.

From Oct. 1 through March 31, 2022, landlords who want to evict a tenant for nonpayment of rent — when a tenant has experienced a COVID-19- related hardship — must show that the tenant applied for rental assistance and it was denied. And that protection only works if there’s a local rental assistance program still providing funds to applicants.

Gilberto Vera, senior attorney at the Legal Aid Society of San Diego, joined Gloria to speak about tenant protections.

"Starting October 1, the remaining tenant protections are tied to tenants applying for emergency rental assistance," Vera said. "We recommend tenants not only submit rental assistance applications, but also regularly check on the status of their application and keep an open line of communication with their landlord."

He recommended if tenants are served an eviction notice by their landlord that they call Legal Aid Society of San Diego at 877-534-2524 to receive free legal assistance regarding the validity of the notice before self- evicting. For more information about the COVID-19 Housing Stability Assistance Program, visit

Applications may be submitted at Immigration status does not affect whether a household qualifies for help from the program. Applications may be submitted by a tenant, community-based organization or 211 San Diego on behalf of a tenant. In addition, landlords may initiate applications on behalf of their tenants, subject to the tenant's review and approval to submit the application.

In anticipation of an increase in evictions, Mayor Gloria will present a proposal to the City Council on October 5th that would use $5 million in federal CARES Act dollars to create a program to provide eviction-prevention education and legal assistance, which would be administered by the San Diego Housing Commission.

Mayor Gloria Seeks More Rental Assistance Funding As Statewide Eviction Protections End