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Mayor Gloria Secures Approval for Legal Defense Fund to Help Renters


Tuesday, Oct. 5, 2021 

CONTACT: MayorPress@sandiego.gov 


SAN DIEGO – In another step to protect San Diego renters, Mayor Todd Gloria today secured City Council approval of his proposal to establish a $5 million legal defense fund to help struggling tenants potentially facing eviction due to non-payment of rent during the COVID-19 pandemic.  

The legal aid program will use $5 million in federal CARES Act dollars to provide eviction-prevention education and legal assistance. It will be administered by the San Diego Housing Commission and open to undocumented residents.  

“I want to thank the City Council for their support to establish this important program that will provide legal assistance to San Diego tenants who need it most,” Mayor Todd Gloria said. “Along with our successful rent relief efforts, this program will make a difference in the lives of countless San Diegans who might be facing the threat of eviction during this difficult time.” 

The creation of this program supplements the City’s successful COVID-19 Housing Stability Assistance Program, which has helped roughly 12,000 struggling San Diego households pay overdue rent and utility bills. As of the end of September, more than $103 million had been paid out. The remaining funds in the program have been fully committed to renters whose applications have received preliminary approval. 

“I was pleased to make the motion in support of this vital program,” said Council President pro Tem Whitburn, who represents the 3rd District. “Evictions often lead to homelessness, and we simply can’t afford to have more San Diegans living on the streets. I thank Mayor Gloria and the Housing Commission for proposing assistance to renters who find themselves on the brink of homelessness.” 

Mayor Gloria is continuing to work with federal and state officials to secure additional rental-assistance funding for San Diego. 

Until 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 will be dismissed.