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City Launches Effort to Ensure Needy Households Apply for Relief
By Lookout Staff
August 4, 2021 -- Santa Monica on Wednesday launched an outreach program to ensure residential tenants and landlords who have fallen behind on rent or utility payments have a chance to apply for financial relief from the State.
Commonly referred to as “Housing is Key,” the $7.2 billion relief program is now taking applications to help income-eligible households pay past and future amounts owed, City officials said.
The program will provide a total of $5.2 billion in rental assistance and $2 billion in utility assistance, City officials said.
The assistance is not automatic, and tenants and landlords must apply to get help, officials said.
Funds are available until the money runs out, so qualifying tenants and landlords should apply as soon as possible.
“We want everyone across our community to be aware of the state funds available to tenants and landlords to pay 100 percent of housing and utility costs for income-eligible households impacted by COVID-19,” said Mayor Sue Himmelrich.
“These funds will support our recovery and ensure Santa Monicans can stay in their homes," she said.
"Our City is committed to sharing this information with every eligible landlord and tenant. Apply today, Santa Monica!”
The City's outreach plan "focuses on equitable access for our most vulnerable community members and is designed to reach tenants and landlords who are unaware of the rental assistance program," officials said.
It also targets those who "have been unable to apply because of disability or lack of access to technology or internet service."
Efforts will include print and digital outreach using mailers, flyers, door-hangers, social media, email and other means.
The outreach is the latest effort to provide housing relief during the coronavirus shutdown, officials said.
The City has already distributed more than $2.8 million in rental assistance to some 640 Santa Monica families.
The money has come from leveraging federal funding from Community Development Block Grants and the CARES Act, as well as local funding from the City’s General Fund and community contributions to the We Are Santa Monica Fund.
The State funding comes two months before California's eviction moratorium protecting tenants from nonpayment of rent expires on September 30.
"This rental assistance program, along with the statewide eviction moratorium, is intended to keep families housed, shield tenants from eviction, and help both landlords and tenants recover from the economic impacts of COVID-19," City officials said.
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