Mayor Gloria encourages low-income families to apply for rent relief

SD Mayor Todd Gloria File photo

SAN DIEGO – Continuing his efforts to protect vulnerable San Diego families affected by COVID-19, San Diego Mayor Todd Gloria today encouraged families with low income whose children attend schools in the San Diego Unified School District to apply for help from the City of San Diego’s COVID-19 Housing Stability Assistance Program.

Mayor Gloria was joined at a press conference on Monday, March 22 at Clark Middle School in City Heights by U.S. Representative Juan Vargas, City Councilmember Sean Elo-Rivera, San Diego Housing Commission President and CEO Richard C. Gentry, and San Diego Unified School District Board President Richard Barrera and Vice President Sharon Whitehurst-Payne.

“Low-income working families across San Diego have been affected disproportionately by the COVID-19 pandemic, especially families of color. We must use every avenue we have to get the word out that resources are available to help them with past-due rent and provide the stability they desperately need,” Mayor Gloria said. “I appreciate San Diego Unified School District stepping up to make sure parents of school-age children know about the Housing Stability Assistance Program.”

More than $83 million is available through the COVID-19 Housing Stability Assistance Program to help qualifying households with rent and utility payments, supported by federal funding.

“Many families across the nation are experiencing housing insecurity as the pandemic’s economic impacts accelerate,” said Rep. Vargas. “I’m pleased that families in my district have access to apply for the City of San Diego COVID-19 Housing Stability Assistance Program. I encourage individuals and families to apply for local, state, and federal assistance programs and aid available through the CARES and American Rescue plan.”

More than 8,100 applications for help from the COVID-19 Housing Stability Assistance Program have been submitted since the program launched on March 15, 2021, of which approximately 19 percent are from households in Council District 9.

“Housing is a human right,” said Councilmember Elo-Rivera. “With crucial support from the federal government and in collaboration with Mayor Gloria, we have created the most significant rental assistance program in our City’s history. While we must address the root causes of housing instability, the Housing Stability Assistance Program is addressing the needs of the over 8,000 families that have already applied and, with continued intentional outreach, has the potential of helping thousands more.”

The San Diego Housing Commission administers the program for the City of San Diego. The online application is available at covidassistance.sdhc.org.

“We want to make sure that every family in the city experiencing financial challenges due to COVID-19 knows that help is available now,” Housing Commission President & CEO Gentry said. “The San Diego Housing Commission thanks the San Diego Unified School District and the many additional community organizations working with us for helping to raise awareness of this vital program.”

San Diego Unified School District will distribute roughly 15,000 flyers about the program during its regularly scheduled food distributions to help families in need that have children in the district.

“All students deserve the opportunity to thrive and enjoy the benefits that come with stable housing,” San Diego Unified Board President Barrera said. “We encourage families who are struggling to pay rent to apply for the COVID-19 Housing Stability Assistance Program.”

“Housing instability and the added stress that goes along with it can have a negative impact on student achievement,” San Diego Unified School District Superintendent Cindy Marten said. “We do not want any of our students falling behind because their families are facing economic hardships due to the ongoing pandemic.”

Federal and state regulations require prioritizing past-due rent before paying upcoming rent. If funds remain available, the program can help with upcoming rent.

To be eligible for assistance through the City’s 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.

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