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Deadline to apply for San Diego rental assistance is Friday

Renters tell leaders it's been a challenge since some landlords don't want the money so they can evict when allowed.

SAN DIEGO — The deadline to apply for a city rental assistance program is nearing. Friday night, applications are due for the City of San Diego COVID-19 Emergency Rental Assistance Program.

In June, the San Diego City Council approved $15.1 million in federal CARES ACT money to help San Diego residents.

“Our phones have not stopped ringing. There is an immense need here in San Diego for rent relief,” said Roberto Alcantar, Chicano Federation Chief Strategy Officer.

The Chicano Federation has been inundated with calls from people across the county needing rental assistance.

“We are getting folks from different cities and in San Diego County. Chula Vista, National City, El Cajon, La Mesa, who need this help and it’s tough telling them the funding is only in the city [of San Diego],” said Alcantar.

The San Diego Housing Commission reported as of Thursday evening, 11,000 people had applied for help and 10,000 were in the process of submitting applications. The commission said the money can help 3,400 to 3,500 people in a lottery. Families with children and those with someone living in the home is 62 and older are prioritized.

“Applications will be sorted and assigned a number at random to ensure that the families who meet eligibility receive an equal opportunity to be selected at random,” said Azucena Valladolid, San Diego Housing Commission Senior Vice President of Rental Assistance.

The deadline to apply with the Housing Commission is Friday at 11:59 p.m. Up to $4,000 will be paid to landlords to help with back rent and future rent.
The Chicano Federation is one of eight organizations designated for outreach and assisting renters in the application process.

Alcantar said some landlords are making it harder for tenants to apply.

“Their landlord has told them they would rather not make the payment and they would like to proceed with the eviction process as soon as they can,” said Alcantar.

The eviction moratorium in San Diego is Sept. 30.

“Whether it pays the entire balance that is past due or not, I think there is a buoy in service plan between the landlord and the tenants that provides a solution to both the landlord and the renters,” said Valladolid.

To be eligible for the program, households must meet the following criteria:

  • The household has a City of San Diego address.
  • Household income in January 2020, was at or below 60% of the San Diego area median income.
  • The household is NOT currently receiving any rental subsidies.
  • The household is NOT currently a tenant of a property owned or managed by the San Diego Housing Commission.
  • The household does NOT have savings to meet their financial need.
  • The household has eligible immigration status (U.S. citizen/U.S. National, lawful permanent resident/conditional permanent resident, registry immigrant, a refugee/person seeking asylum or granted asylum).
  • The household experienced hardship directly related to COVID-19.

Alcantar said for those who have mixed immigration in their household it’s been a challenge getting them to apply. 

“They are terrified to apply because they don’t want their information to be held by a government entity," he said. 

Despite the fears and challenges there is help for struggling renters.

The housing commission said they plan to start making payments to landlords starting mid-August until October.

To learn more about applying and resources to help fill out the application click here.

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