The County of Sonoma awarded $2.37 million to several local nonprofits earlier this month for rent relief for those impacted by COVID-19 and for low-income landlords who have lost income as a result of the pandemic.
Community Action Partnership, along with La Luz and Corazón Healdsburg and West County Services are among the nonprofit organizations that have received funds from the CARES Act Relief Fund.
West County Services received $350,000 in funding, and the Community Action Partnership will share $1,227,000 with La Luz and Corazón according to a county press release.
Residents can receive up to $6,000 for six months of rental assistance, which can include current and back payments of rent and utilities.
Those who are in need of aid must fill out an application and provide documentation that they have lost their job or have lost income due to COVID, and eligible applicants must demonstrate that they have not been able to pay or have not received rental payments for any period of timing starting March 1, 2020.
Those who apply will also need to certify that the reason is due to COVID-19. According to the press release, self-certifications will be accepted.
Households who want to apply must also meeting the following conditions:
● Be low-income as defined as 80% of Area Median Income.
● Be a tenant unable to pay their rent and or utility bills, or a landlord not receiving rent as a result of COVID-19.
● Live in west county: Greater Sebastopol, the lower Russian River, Forestville or the Sonoma Coast.
Those in west Sonoma County can contact West County Services for information about the fund or for help with the application process.
“This week we’ll have a web portal up where they can complete the application online in English or in Spanish. Otherwise call and email,” said Tim Miller, the executive director for West County Services.
Miller said West County Services will only serve west county residents, but if someone from a different area calls they will connect them with the corresponding agency.
“You can contact us via email or phone in English or in Spanish,” Miller said.
For English speaking clients contact CRF@westcountyservices.org or call 707-837-3037.
For Spanish speaking clients contact firstname.lastname@example.org or call 707-869-3613.
For Healdsburg/North County
The Community Action Partnership and La Luz are the north east Sonoma County organizations who received CARES Funds.
The La Luz Center is asking folks in their area who want to inquire about general rental assistance to call the center and leave a message with your information at, 707-938-5131.
To learn about the other services La Luz offers, visit: https://www.laluzcenter.org/.
Corazón is focused on taking care of and providing as much aid as possible for Healdsburg, Windsor and Cloverdale residents.
Angie Sanchez, head of programs at Corazón, said they have been distributing aid through their Unity and Community Fund, about $600,000 worth, but they can only provide what they have through fund donations.
“We exhausted those funds so this came in perfect timing,” Sanchez said of the CARES funding.
Since they weren’t able to provide financial assistance through the Unity Fund for all who inquired, they will focus on dispersing the CARES tenant and landlord aid to the 200 families who have been on a waiting list.
Sanchez said for those on the list who are out of their service area they will refer them to other agencies.
“Those who live in the area, we will do intake with them and see if they are eligible,” Sanchez said.
While qualifying families can get up to $6,000 in the CARES relief, not everyone who applies may receive that amount. Sanchez said if they provided $6,000 to everyone on the waitlist then they’d only be able to help 52 families. Corazon wants to be able to help as many people as possible, she said.
“The need is so much bigger than the aid and many organizations have these long lists. It is great help for the community, but it is also not enough,” Sanchez said. “It is a great start to be able to provide some aid. This is huge for our community.”
“The Sonoma County Board of Supervisors carefully considered how to use CARES funding, and we prioritized short-term emergency rental assistance for low-income tenants and low-income landlords,” Susan Gorin, chair of the board of supervisors, said of the funds. “This funding could help approximately 930 Sonoma County households, depending on the amount of assistance needed per household.”
In addition to prioritizing CARES funds for low-income renter and landlord assistance the Sonoma County Board of Supervisors also allocated CARES funding to the following needs:
● $2.5 million to help support small businesses with a focus on businesses that were unable to secure CARES Act Paycheck Protection Plan (PPP) and Small Business Administration Economic Injury funding.
● $1.5 million to address a disproportionate impact of COVID-19 on Latinx residents by reaching high-risk populations and by providing emergency financial assistance and case management services.
● $1.5 million for various food programs for those with food insecurity as a result of COVID.
The program will conclude on Dec. 30, 2020.