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San Diego rent relief fund short millions

Posted at 4:44 PM, Oct 04, 2021
and last updated 2021-10-04 20:40:22-04

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) — San Diego's Covid rent relief fund will be $10 million short of its obligations, even if the City Council kicks in another $39 million at its meeting Tuesday.

The fund has paid out $103 million in rent and utilities to more than 12,000 qualifying households during the pandemic. However, the commission is struggling to keep up with the demand. Over the weekend, roughly 500 more households applied for their share of the money, which pays up to 18 months of rent and utilities.

On Tuesday, the City Council will consider kicking in $39.7 million to the program, which the San Diego Housing Commission oversees. But even with that, the fund will be $10 million short when it comes to paying households that have already qualified.

"We need the money. We've proven that we can administer it and we really want to get it into the hands of the landlords and the tenants to help stabilize those populations," said Azucena Valladolid, executive vice president of rental assistance at the commission.

Despite the lack of funds, qualifying renters who can't pay their rent should still apply for the relief because a pending application is the only thing that protects them from eviction for nonpayment through March 31.

The Housing Commission is not denying any applications due to lack of money as it tries to shore up the gap. That money could come from the state or the U.S. Treasury, which is looking to re-purpose excess Covid relief funds and could have a plan in place by Oct. 15.

A spokeswoman for Mayor Todd Gloria said Gloria is proud of the success of getting the funding out, but knows there are more families in need.

"We are actively working with federal and state officials to secure additional rental assistance for San Diegans," she said in a statement. "The Mayor will also present a proposal to the City Council (Tuesday) that would use $5 million in federal CARES Act dollars to create a program to provide eviction-prevention education and legal assistance.”

In all, the commission has received nearly 27,000 applications for rental assistance, processing about 21,000 of them so far through the pandemic.