The State of California is launching an Emergency Rental Assistance Program (ERAP) to aid income-qualified tenants most at risk of eviction due to the COVID-19 pandemic and is calling on community-based organizations to sign up as partners to reach out to those who qualify.

In Ventura County, $52.2 million has been designated to assist households affected by COVID-19, with priority on those below the area median income and recently unemployed.

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“Our community members continue to struggle from the impacts of this pandemic,” said County Executive Officer Mike Powers. “We are encouraging local community-based organizations to apply in this partnership to ensure we reach every person in our community who qualifies to help them access this important rental assistance resource.”

Ventura County will be collaborating with the City of Oxnard to support the state’s rollout of the program. The Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC) was selected by the state to also engage community-based organizations and other trusted partners to coordinate outreach and ensure that residents most impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic can access this emergency rental assistance. Recognizing that cultural competency, language translation, and regional knowledge will be key, LISC will select and contract with one to six or more organizations in Ventura County to drive local outreach and engagement efforts. Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis beginning February 19,2021 and can be submitted at https://lisc.tfaforms.net/308.

“It is the State and County priority that all community members eligible for these funds receive equitable access to assistance,” said Melissa Livingston, Director of the Ventura County Human Services Agency. “That’s why it’s so important that we collaborate with our boots-on-the-ground community partners to get the word out and to ensure that every individual seeking this program assistance is treated with dignity, respect, and compassion, regardless of their circumstance, ability, or identity.”

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Organizations that have the staffing capacity to provide services in a variety of languages are most encouraged to apply. Registered non-profits and qualified entities may apply to provide outreach assistance for the ERAP via one or more of the following three tiers: 1) promotion of the program; 2) targeted outreach to eligible households; and 3) technical assistance to provide guidance to individuals as they navigate the application process. The California Emergency Rental Assistance Program will begin accepting applications from eligible households no later than March 15, 2021. Assistance will be available for households with incomes at or below 80 percent of Area Median Income, with priority given to those with an annual household income at or below 50% of Area Median Income, as well as households unemployed for the preceding 90 days at the time of application.