(Yolo County, CA) – On March 15, 2021 the state launched California COVID-19 Rent Relief Program where income-eligible residents and landlords in Yolo County who need financial assistance for past or future rent and utilities will be able to apply for financial help at: housingiskey.com.

Governor Newsom signed SB 91, establishing the CA COVID-19 Rent Relief Program, allocating $2.6 billion in federal rent assistance. Yolo County received $13.6 million in federal rental assistance funds, which will enable low income households most impacted by the pandemic to stay in their homes and prevent displacement, which will be crucial to an equitable recovery. 

“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,” says 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,” says Ramirez. 

Yolo County will administer the program through the Housing is Key campaign, which connects renters and landlords experiencing economic hardship due to COVID-19 with helpful information and resources. 

The program provides relief to both eligible landlords and renters. Landlords will be reimbursed 80% of unpaid rent between April 1, 2020 and March 31, 2021 as long as they agree to waive the remaining 20% of unpaid rent accrued. Renters making 80% or less of the Area Median Income (AMI) are eligible. In Yolo County, a family of four is eligible for rental assistance if their household income is $74,000 or less. Income eligibility will be determined automatically as part of the application process. 

Eligible renters can apply for landlords to be reimbursed for 80% of each eligible renter’s unpaid rent between April 1, 2020, and March 31, 2021. The landlord must agree to waive the remaining 20% of unpaid rent for that specific time period. Eligible renters whose landlords choose not to participate in the program may receive 25% of unpaid rent between April 1, 2020 and March 31, 2021. Applicants will need to provide documentation to show loss of income due to COVID-19. Applicants will not be asked about their citizenship, nor will they be required to show proof of citizenship.

Applications will be accepted on an ongoing basis and the State will prioritize funding for eligible applicants who are in most need of assistance. For a complete list of requirements, documents and how to apply, local renters and landlords should visit: Housingiskey.com. A statewide network of local community partners is being established to help answer eligibility questions and submit applications. 

Empower Yolo is one of the local community partners that can help answer questions and submit applications. For questions or to make an appointment for application assistance call the main office at (530) 661-6336. For more information visit: empoweryolo.org

For additional information about this program visit: Housingiskey.com, or www.yolocounty.org/Rent-Relief. For additional updates visit: empoweryolo.org; follow Empower Yolo on Facebook at: https://www.facebook.com/EmpowerYolo/, Instagram at: https://www.instagram.com/empower_yolo/ or Twitter at: https://twitter.com/empower_yolo.

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