With the ever-present fear of mass evictions looming for families financially impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, the city and county of Sacramento are making available roughly $96 million in assistance to help residents pay past-due rent and utility bills.
The money comes from state and federal dollars and is funneled to the Sacramento Emergency Rental Assistance program which was created to help the county’s low-income residents. About $31.7 million comes from the city and $64 million from the county.
Renters should apply if they are unemployed, have had a reduction in household income or incurred significant costs, or have experienced financial hardship because of pandemic. Households have to demonstrate a risk of being unhoused or housing instability.
The county had a similar program last fall for renters who were suffering financial hardships, but the funding only totaled $6.5 million and gave an average of $3,500 to 1,230 renters and 780 landlords.
According to Sarah O’Daniel, a director with Sacramento Housing and Redevelopment Agency, most of the residents who received rental assistance through last year’s subsidy program were people of color. Of those who applied, most came from zip codes that are deemed to have the highest COVID-19 impact and greatest risk of eviction.
The application period for this round of funding is open from Feb. 25 to March 19, and can be found in English, Spanish, Hmong, Vietnames, Chinese and Russian on SHRA’s website.
The county is prioritizing low-income residents who make 50% of area median income:
- Family of 1: $30,250
- Family of 2: $34,550
- Family of 3: $38,850
- Family of 4: $43,150
- Family of 5: $46,650
Also a priority are individuals who have been unemployed for 90 days prior to the application date and to those who owe back rent.
Others can still qualify if they have a current household gross income at or below 80% of the area median income:
- Family of 1: $48,350
- Family of 2: $55,250
- Family of 3: $62,150
- Family of 4: $69,050
- Family of 5: $74,600
- Family of 6: $80,100
- Family of 7: $85,650
- Family of 8: $91,150
Landlords can apply for the funds to compensate for up to 80% of unpaid rent, but must agree to accept those funds as payment from their tenants and forgive the remaining 20% owed.
If a landlord does not participate, tenants who apply for the funds will be offered 25% of what they owe, which is the amount renters must pay to maintain eviction protection during the pandemic.
The state’s eviction moratorium ends June 30, 2021.
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