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CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8 | cbs8.com

San Diego County reopens COVID-19 rental assistance application period

County residents economically impacted by the pandemic could qualify for up to $3,000 to pay for past-due or upcoming rent.

SAN DIEGO COUNTY, Calif. — An additional 10,000 households economically impacted by COVID-19 are able to apply for rent relief from San Diego County on 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.

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.

"The last thing we want to do is have more people become homeless because they are unable to make their rent because of COVID," County Supervisor Nathan Fletcher told News 8. 

"If it helps offer families some security in knowing that they are going to be able to remain in their homes, I think that's a huge step in the right direction," added Nancy Maldonado, CEO of the Chicano Federation, which offers assistance to community members in applying for programs like this rental assistance.

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.

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.

"It's been a challenge. We have run across a number of landlords not participating," Maldonado told News 8. "I understand that it can be time consuming on the landlord's part but gosh, if this helps families stay in their homes and offers them a little bit of peace of mind, it is worth it."

Applicants can find more program information, including how to apply and detailed eligibility criteria, here