housing stock

Californians who have experienced a financial hardship because of the pandemic and who are most at-risk of eviction can now apply for the CA COVID-19 Rent Relief program to help pay past due rent.

The COVID Rent Relief portal opened last week on March 15. Renters and landlords can check eligibility and apply by visiting HousingIsKey.com or by calling 833-430-2122 toll-free, seven days a week.

The CA COVID-19 Rent Relief program was created by the COVID-19 Tenant Relief Act, with the strongest-in-the nation eviction protections signed into law by Governor Newsom on January 29. Funding comes from the $2.6 billion in federal emergency rental assistance program to states and local jurisdictions.

“An estimated 1.5 million California families, front-line workers and low-wage earners are behind on their rent due to the economic fallout of this pandemic,” said Business, Consumer Services and Housing Agency (BCSH) Secretary Lourdes Castro Ramirez. “They have accumulated significant debt and their landlords are struggling to meet their financial obligations. The CA COVID-19 Rent Relief program will be a lifeline to renters and landlords. It clears accumulated rental debt, keeps families hardest hit housed and will lead to a more equitable economic recovery.”

Both renters and landlords can apply for CA COVID-19 Rent Relief. If landlords choose to participate, they will receive 80 percent of an eligible tenant’s unpaid rent for the period of April 1, 2020, and March 31, 2021 if they agree to waive the remaining 20 percent of unpaid rent.

Renters making less than 80 percent or less of the Area Median Income (AMI) for their location are eligible. Renters’ income eligibility will automatically be calculated during the application process. Eligible renters with landlords who choose not to participate in the program can apply on their own. Those renters will be eligible to receive payments of 25 percent of unpaid rent accrued from April 1, 2020 to March 31, 2021, which can help protect them from eviction under SB 91.

“One of our primary goals is to ensure we reach and serve communities that have been hardest hit by the pandemic,” said Gustavo Velasquez, Director of the Department of Housing and Community Development, which is administering the program. “We appreciate the support and partnership of local jurisdictions working with the State to ensure that those in most need of assistance get clear, accurate, consistent, and accessible information on how and when to apply.”

A statewide network of has been established to help individuals answer eligibility questions and submit applications. In addition, a robust statewide multilingual communication and education effort is underway to help inform renters and landlords about the availability of CA COVID-19 Rent Relief. The application will be available in English, Spanish, Vietnamese, Tagalog, Chinese and Korean, and help will be available in more than 200 additional languages through the California COVID-19 Rent Relief call center at 833-430-2122.

Applications from landlords or renters must include all required information and eligibility verification items to be processed. Case management teams will be available to help applicants complete their applications. There is a checklist for renters that includes the paperwork they will need and one for landlords. Once an application has been successfully submitted and processed, both the landlord and tenant will be notified by a COVID19 Rent Relief case manager about the application status.

For more information on program eligibility, required application information, and to start the application process, visit HousingIsKey.com or call 833-430-2122.

Townsy is a recently-launched community app, offering local news, online shopping at local stores, a local event guide, local volunteer and job boards and more. 

Sonoma West Publishers is partnering with Townsy to make our news more accessible to the Sebastopol community. 

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