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City Launches Rental Assistance Program for Tenants Impacted by Coronavirus Emergency

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By Jorge Casuso

July 1, 2020 -- Santa Monica tenants who can show they have been economically impacted by the coronavirus shutdown can begin applying for rental assistance from the City on Tuesday.

The COVID-19 Emergency Rental Assistance Program will give as many as 300 households as much as $5,000 each to pay for up to three months of rent starting in August.

The program does not cover back rent deferred by the local eviction moratorium, City officials said. Those who qualify will be entered into a lottery for final selection.

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Applicants must qualify as a low-income household and provide "proof of loss of income or increase in expenses related to COVID-19" that makes them unable to pay rent.

To qualify, the annual gross income ranges from no more than $63,100 for a one-person household to $118,950 for a household of eight.

"Rental assistance payments will be made directly to landlords or property management companies on behalf of qualifying Santa Monica residents," housing officials said.

The City will partner with St. Joseph Center, a local nonprofit, to "to expedite the review of applications and the payment of emergency rental assistance."

The program is largely funded with $1.6 million from federal Community Development Block Grants funds made available in the CARES Act.

Seniors who receive rental vouchers under the City's Preserving Our Diversity Program (POD) are not eligible.

The application deadline is noon Friday, July 17. Online applications will be available in multiple languages.

Paper applications can be picked up at the Thelma Terry building at Virginia Avenue Park, 2200 Virginia Avenue.

For online applications and program details visit

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