The State of California recently launched the CA COVID-19 Rent Relief program to aid income-qualified tenants who are most at risk of eviction due to the COVID-19 pandemic by providing financial assistance for unpaid rent and utilities.
Funding for this program comes from $2.6 billion in federal rental assistance, with Ventura County designated to receive $52.2 million, which includes $39.3 million allocated to Ventura County and $12.9 million for the City of Oxnard. Ventura County is collaborating with the City of Oxnard to support this state-administered emergency rental assistance program, along with several community organizations that have contracted with the state to conduct local outreach to assist residents with the application process through in-person appointments in multiple languages.
“We are extremely grateful for our community partners as we jointly work to serve those throughout the County who are still struggling from this pandemic,” said County Executive Officer Mike Powers. “Together we have built an infrastructure to help get relief to both property owners and tenants with a focus on equity.”
Landlords who participate in the COVID-19 Rent Relief program can receive reimbursement for 80 percent of their eligible renters’ unpaid rent accrued between April 1, 2020, and March 31, 2021, if they agree to waive the remaining 20 percent of their unpaid rent from that same time. Eligible renters can also apply on their own to receive 25 percent of their unpaid rent that was accrued during the same 12 months, even if their landlord doesn’t participate. Some tenants may also be able to receive assistance to cover 100 percent of utilities for the past year and 25 percent of future rent when eviction protection expire.
To be eligible, tenants must make 80 percent or less of their location’s area median income (AMI), which is an annual income of $72,300 for a household of two. The state will prioritize those making below 50 percent of the local AMI, which is $45,200 for a household of two, and those recently unemployed. Applications are not first-come, first-served but will be accepted on an ongoing basis.
“Outreach to this rental assistance program will be key. We are currently working with our community partners in locating vulnerable tenants in pockets throughout our county to communicate with them effectively about this available rent and utility relief,” said Melissa Livingston, Director of the Ventura County Human Services Agency. “This program is really tailored to address the inequities of those most disadvantaged communities.”
Tenants and landlords can apply online at HousingIsKey.com or by calling 833-430-2122 seven days a week from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Assistance at the call center is provided in multiple languages with case managers available to help applicants in providing all the documents and information necessary to complete the application. Those needing further technical assistance filling out the application can contact one of the local partnering community organizations listed at https://housing.ca.gov/covid_rr/partner_resources.html. Community members are encouraged to help spread the word about this opportunity.