COVID-19 Rent Relief Program Launches

The California Business, Consumer Services and Housing Agency (BCSH) announced the launch of the COVID-19 Rent Relief Program. With as many as 1.5 million Californian renters behind on rent and at risk of eviction because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the CA COVID-19 Rent Relief Program will be a lifeline to renters and landlords by keeping the hardest-hit families in their homes and leading to a more equitable economic recovery.

The program provides rental reimbursement to landlords and relief to eligible tenants for unpaid rent accrued between April 1, 2020 and March 31, 2021.

Landlords who participate in the COVID-19 Rent Relief Program can get reimbursed for 80 percent of eligible tenants’ unpaid rent accrued between April 1, 2020 and March 31, 2021. To participate, landlords must agree to waive the remaining 20 percent of their tenants’ unpaid rent.

Eligible tenants may apply to receive 25 percent of their unpaid rent accrued between April 1, 2020, and March 31, 2021. This extends to eligible tenants whose landlords aren’t participating in the program. Renters can also receive financial assistance to pay future rent, equal to 25 percent of their monthly fee. This combined assistance can help tenants stay housed once California’s eviction protections expire on June 30, 2021. Additional financial assistance through the program can also be used to pay for past-due utility bills accrued between April 1, 2020 and March 31, 2021, as well as help pay future utility bills, both of which may be paid at 100 percent of the cost, but are limited to a total of 12 months.

Applicants may apply online starting at 5 p.m. on Monday, March 15, 2021. For more information on participating partners, to check eligibility, and fill out a rental assistance application go to HousingisKey.com. Applicants may also call the CA COVID-19 Rent Relief Call Center at 1-833-430-2122.

Monica Ruvalcaba

Monica Ruvalcaba is an Executive Fellow for the California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services (Cal OES). Since joining Cal OES in 2020, she has worked on policy analysis and assisted in the response and recovery efforts of the COVID-19 pandemic, 2020 wildfires, and public safety power shutoffs. Previously, she worked as a Research Assistant for the UCLA Department of Pediatric Infectious Diseases.

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