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San Diego County to open Security Deposit Assistance Program for rental applicants

Posted at 10:27 PM, Sep 02, 2021
and last updated 2021-09-03 09:28:31-04

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) -- It takes courage to ask for help.

"I'm a hard-working dad. Got three kids, one on the way,” Julio De La Cruz Villegas said.

De La Cruz Villegas is making that first step at the La Maestra Community Health Center on Fairmount Avenue in City Heights.

"I work pretty much every day and I do some after-work when I have to, and need be. I just try to make ends meet,” De La Cruz Villegas said.

De La Cruz Villegas is not only applying for San Diego County's rental assistance program at La Maestra, but a new program that the county is rolling out to applicants Friday called the Security Deposit Assistance Program.

"That's for people who maybe moving from one unit to another for whatever reason. And they may need assistance with that security deposit,” said Nick Martinez with the county's Housing & Community Development Services.

The county program is funded by $4 million worth of American Rescue Plan money. According to the county, "The security deposit cannot exceed two months’ rent for a maximum award amount of $7,000."

"That really eliminates a barrier for people who may need help with coming up with that security deposit,” Martinez said.

It's something that can be a struggle for many people like De La Cruz Villegas.

"I need help right now. Much like everyone in San Diego right now, they need help. And this program is like one of those bright lights you see out that are really hard to see out there in a dark place,” De La Cruz Villegas said.

There are thresh holds people will have to meet to be eligible. Applicants must meet an income of limit at or below 120 percent of area median income. What that means is that a single-person household would have to bring home $101,800 or less; a family of 4 household needs to $145,400 or less.

"But this is the first of its kind in that it's helping any renter that meets the lower or moderate income,” Martine said.

Organizations like La Maestra are helping people apply for the program, which opens up on September 3rd. It's a program showing that even a little bit of help goes a long way.

"It's almost like giving a big hug to our community,” said Cynthia Kaser, La Maestra Community Health Centers "Having that somebody help you gives you that, I want to say, a miracle or help. Like, 'Oh, my God! Somebody is here to help me.'"

The applicants will be chosen on a lottery basis. La Maestra and the County are encouraging people to apply for the program.

You can apply on the county's website here.