Renter assistance is now available in Sonoma County. How do I apply?
Sonoma County began accepting aid applications Monday for local renters seeking financial support as a result of economic hardship encountered during the pandemic.
Up to $32 million in federal and state dollars is being made available through the county’s Community Development Commission, which is partnering with local groups to enlist participants and distribute aid.
The money can be used to cover rent, overdue utility bills and other housing-related costs. Immigration status is not a factor in determining eligibility.
Earlier this year, unpaid rent debt in Sonoma County was estimated at about $36.5 million, according to a study by the Bay Area Equity Atlas and Housing NOW California. Statewide, the figure was about $3.7 billion, the group found.
The new money comes from the federal Emergency Rental Assistance Program, launched in January. Around $17.5 million was distributed to Sonoma County out of the state’s $2.6 billion allotment, while $14.5 million went straight from the feds the county.
To be eligible for the rental assistance programs, applicant households must earn less than 80% of the area median income — around $82,000 for a family of four. Applicants making less than 50% of the area median income receive preference.
Participating landlords can be compensated for 80% of rental debt stretching back to April 1, 2020. The landlord must forgive the remaining 20%, however, under the terms of a deal brokered by the Legislature earlier this year.
Here’s how to apply or get more information:
Visit the county’s program website. On the site, click “Apply Here” to register for an account and apply for aid.
Need more help? About a dozen community organizations are assisting applicants, including Reach For Home, La Luz, Catholic Charities, Russian River Alliance and others. For a full list, see the program website.
Spanish-speaking assistance is available.
The county also published a list of frequently-asked questions about how to apply and who is eligible.