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City of San Diego out of rental assistance funds as eviction moratorium ends

Posted at 4:58 PM, Sep 30, 2021
and last updated 2021-09-30 20:42:28-04

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) — The San Diego Housing Commission says all of the money available for pandemic-related rental assistance has been spoken for as the eviction moratorium ends.

On Friday, October 1, landlords will once again be able to evict tenants for nonpayment of rent, something they could not do under California law since the coronavirus pandemic started.

However, tenants will be protected against eviction through March 31 if they file an application for COVID rental assistance.

The problem, at least in San Diego, is that all of the money has been accounted for. That includes the $13 million Mayor Todd Gloria said was still available as of Monday.

"The concern is that the nonpayment of rent protections remaining is tied to the tenant applying and having a pending rental application for rental assistance and that the funds are available," said Gilbero Vera, senior attorney with the Legal Aid Society of San Diego.

The San Diego Housing Commission reports it has doled out $103.5 million in rental assistance to 11,816 qualifying San Diegans, and has obligated another $65 million, pending approval of the necessary household documentation.

It added that even if the San Diego City Council approves an additional $39 million on Oct. 5, it would still not be enough for the current demand.

The agency says it is working with Mayor Gloria's office on efforts to obtain additional funding.

"The U.S. Department of the Treasury has informed SDHC that it is working on a process for the reallocation of federal emergency rental assistance funds, which would occur after October 15," the commission said in a statement.

"This potential reallocation includes making additional funds available to high-performing agencies based on demonstrated need."

Still, the Southern California Rental Housing Association says the end of the moratorium is not going to lead to a flurry of evictions.

"What renters need to know is not to be afraid of working with their housing provider and not to be afraid of submitting the information that's necessary to be eligible for the rental assistance programs. There is help out there," said Lucinda Lilley, the association's president.

Many renters can still be evicted at the end of their leases for no-fault reasons, such as major renovations to the property or withdrawal from the rental market.