FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, Aug. 18, 2021
SAN DIEGO – As part of his efforts to help struggling San Diegans affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, Mayor Todd Gloria announced today that 9,448 San Diego households have been helped with $77.9 million in a first round of rent relief through the City’s COVID-19 Housing Stability Assistance Program.
“San Diego has done a great job of getting rental assistance into the hands of families and individuals who have been hit hard by the economic impacts of COVID-19, and more dollars are on the way to help those who are still having trouble paying rent and utilities.” Mayor Gloria said. “I strongly encourage those who might need assistance to apply as soon as possible, and I hope everyone will help get the word out about this critically important program.”
Mayor Gloria was joined at a news conference in Pacific Beach today by U.S. Congressman Scott Peters, San Diego City Council President Jennifer Campbell, San Diego Housing Commission (SDHC) President & CEO Richard C. Gentry, and Eric Norris, a Pacific Beach resident who received help from the Housing Stability Assistance Program.
The City of San Diego, in partnership with SDHC, has already distributed 93 percent of the $83.7 million of federal rent relief funds it initially received in March. An additional $51 million in funding from the President Joe Biden’s American Rescue Plan is available now and another $34 million in federal funding, which was allocated through the state of California, will be authorized for disbursement this fall.
“The security of having a roof over our heads took a new meaning as we dealt with the fallout of this pandemic,” said Congressman Peters, whose district includes Pacific Beach. “The housing relief funds delivered San Diegans stability, ensured their public health and provided greater peace of mind. The efforts of our local, state and federal governments, and agencies are another shining example of how we can serve those in need during this unprecedented event in our history.”
“People’s lives have been turned upside down because of this pandemic," said Council President Campbell, who also represents Pacific Beach. "Thanks to the leadership in our communities, this program has made all the difference in making sure residents are not displaced and has provided an added layer of support during these perilous times.”
SDHC has received more than 17,400 applications since the program launched. More than 16,500 additional applications have been started but have not yet been submitted.
“This program continues to provide relief and hope to families with low income who have struggled to pay their rent and utilities during the pandemic,” SDHC President & CEO Gentry said. “The new applications filed each day demonstrate the continuing need in our community. The San Diego Housing Commission thanks Congressman Peters, Mayor Gloria and the City Council for their leadership and support of this effort.”
One of these applicants, Norris, lost his car and thought he would become homeless after he lost his job early in the pandemic and could not find new employment as it continued. When he heard about the COVID-19 Housing Stability Assistance Program, he wanted to be sure he applied right away.
“I’m just very grateful, from the bottom of my heart—very, very grateful for this program. It’s helped me a lot, and it’s kept me on my feet, and I started back to work a couple of weeks ago,” said Norris, who has a master’s degree in computer engineering and now works in information technology for a local hospital.
Applications for assistance from this program also can provide additional protections for renters who may face potential eviction after the State of California’s temporary ban on evictions expires Sept. 30, 2021. Assembly Bill (AB) 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 they applied for rental assistance and it was denied. If the landlord cannot demonstrate this, the case would be dismissed.
The application for the COVID-19 Housing Stability Assistance Program remains open at covidassistance.sdhc.org.
Immigration status does not affect whether or not 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.
For more information about the program, visit www.sdhc.org/covid19hsap
The full federal allocation of American Rescue Plan Act funds to the City for the COVID-19 Housing Stability Assistance Program is contingent upon 50 percent of the funds being obligated to qualifying households by January 31, 2022.
The County of San Diego and City of Chula Vista operate separate programs for residents in their jurisdictions. For more information on their programs, visit www.erapsandiego.org