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March 15, 2021

Mayor Gloria Launches Program to Help Renters Facing Hardship from COVID-19


SAN DIEGO – As part of his efforts to protect vulnerable San Diegans from the impacts of the pandemic, Mayor Todd Gloria today was joined by San Diego City Councilmember Vivian Moreno, San Diego Housing Commission President and CEO Richard C. Gentry, and Chicano Federation CEO Nancy Maldonado to announce the launch of the Housing Stability Assistance Program.

More than $83 million is now available through the Housing Stability Assistance Program to help qualifying low-income residential renters  who live in the city of San Diego and are affected by the COVID-19 pandemic pay past-due rent, utilities and internet service. The application period began today.

“As more San Diegans receive COVID-19 vaccinations, we’re getting closer to putting this pandemic behind us, but the financial devastation it has caused for our residents will linger until our economy has fully recovered,” Mayor Gloria said. “This financial assistance will be an enormous help in getting San Diego renters through this incredibly difficult time.”

Qualifying households may apply for the City’s COVID-19 Housing Stability Assistance Program at Applications are available in English, Spanish and Vietnamese. The first payments are expected to be disbursed in April.

“The economic and social disruption caused by this pandemic has been devastating, and communities within my district – like Logan Heights and San Ysidro – have been some of the hardest hit,” said Councilmember Moreno, who represents District 8 and serves on the Council’s Land Use and Housing Committee. “Outreach to these disadvantaged communities is essential to ensure that the populations hardest hit by this pandemic are getting enrolled in the program and receive these critically needed funds.”

The program is administered by the San Diego Housing Commission.

“This program will give qualifying families certainty that their past-due rent and utility bills will be paid and the stability of knowing they will not lose their rental home because of the financial effects of this pandemic,” SDHC President & CEO Richard C. Gentry said. “The San Diego Housing Commission thanks Mayor Gloria and the City Council for their leadership and actions to make this program possible.”  

Chicano Federation is one of 10 community-based organizations contracting with the Housing Commission to help applicants with their applications, including households that do not have internet access.

“We are proud to once again partner with the City of San Diego and the San Diego Housing Commission to bring much-needed rental relief to some of our most impacted communities,” Chicano Federation CEO Nancy Maldonado said. “This rental assistance will go a long way in relieving the economic pressures that many in our community are facing as a result of this pandemic. As we continue to look forward towards recovery, we need to put equity at the forefront and find permanent solutions to the systematic failures that put our communities at higher risk.”

Those who need help with their applications or have questions about the program can call (619) 535-6921 or contact any of following community-based organizations:

–          Includes the following organizations:

      • Haitian Bridge Alliance, 917-496-2248
      • Horn of Africa, 619-583-0532
      • Refugee Assistance Center, 619-793-9019
      • Somali Bantu Community of San Diego, 619-283-3956
      • Southern Sudanese Community Center of San Diego, 619-788-6511
      • The Karen Organization of San Diego, (619) 582-0783
      • United Women of East Africa Support Team, (UWEAST) (619) 501-7804

To be eligible for assistance through the COVID-19 Housing Stability Assistance Program, households must meet the following criteria:

  • Tenant has a City of San Diego address.
  • Household income is at or below 80 percent of San Diego’s Area Median Income (AMI), currently $92,400 per year for a family of four.
  • Household has an obligation to pay rent.
  • Household does not currently receive any rental subsidies. (Households that receive rental subsidies can only apply for help with their past-due utilities. Assistance will depend on funding availability.)
  • At least one member of the household has a reduction of income or other financial hardship due to COVID-19.
  • Household experienced or is at risk of experiencing homelessness or housing instability.

Priority is given to these types of households:

  • Income is at or below 50 percent of San Diego’s AMI, currently $57,750 per year for a family of four.
  • At least one member of the household has been unemployed for 90 days and remains unemployed.

Applications may be submitted either by a tenant or by a landlord, community-based organization or 211 San Diego on behalf of a tenant.

The program will help pay past-due, unpaid rent and utilities for households with low income. Past-due rent must be prioritized before paying upcoming rent. If funds remain available, the program can help with upcoming rent.

California State Senate Bill 91 allows landlords to receive 80 percent of their tenants’ past-due rent for the period of April 1, 2020 to March 31, 2021, if they agree to forgo the remaining 20 percent. Landlords also can receive 25 percent of upcoming rent for the months of April through June 2021, depending on funding availability. If a landlord declines these terms, the program can pay 25 percent of the tenants’ past-due rent directly to the tenant for them to pay their landlord and, if funds are available, up to 25 percent of the tenant’s upcoming monthly rent for the three months of April through June 2021.

The State’s temporary eviction ban requires a tenant to pay 25 percent of their rent to be protected from eviction for nonpayment of rent.

The COVID-19 Housing Stability Assistance Program also will include help to pay for past-due, unpaid utilities, including electricity, gas, water and sewer, trash removal and energy costs, such as fuel oil. Help with past-due internet service charges also is available.

Telephone and cable are not eligible for utility assistance, and utilities paid by the landlord are considered rent.

Under the State of California’s temporary eviction ban, City residents cannot be evicted for nonpayment of rent related to COVID-19 at least until June 30, 2021.

The San Diego City Council also has approved a temporary ban on evictions related to COVID-19, which will go into effect on July 1, 2021 (unless the State further extends its eviction ban) and will remain in effect until 60 days after the end of the City’s COVID-19 State of Emergency declaration. For more information, visit

The City’s COVID-19 Housing Stability Assistance Program is being supported, in whole or in part, by federal award number ERA302, awarded to the City by the U.S. Department of the Treasury.




Mayor Todd Gloria:

Councilmember Vivian Moreno:

San Diego Housing Commission:

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