The City of Sacramento is set to receive an additional $31.7 million in state and federal funding to assist low-income city residents who are unable to pay rent and have been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Approximately $15.2 million is from the newly passed federal stimulus package and $16.4 million is from the state’s recently passed SB 91 bill, which also extended the State’s eviction moratorium to June 30, 2021. The City Council on Tuesday unanimously approved the use of this funding.
The funds will be administered by the Sacramento Housing and Redevelopment Agency (SHRA), which last year received $5.3 million in City CARES Act funding to execute a rental-assistance program.
“SHRA did a great job in getting these vital financial resources out to help low-income families who have been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic and on the cusp of homelessness,” said Danielle Foster, the City’s housing policy manager. “This additional funding will help those in our communities who need it most. We’re excited to partner with SHRA and our community-based organizations to get these new funds out into the community quickly to assist additional families, including those most difficult to reach due to language and cultural barriers.”
Since the onset of the pandemic, the Sacramento Emergency Rental Assistance (SERA) program — a joint effort among the City of Sacramento, SHRA and the County of Sacramento — has helped approximately 930 City families stay in their homes.
The SERA program has funds to help both City and County of Sacramento residents. To qualify households must:
- Have current gross household income at or below 80% Area Median Income (AMI).
- Have one member that:
- qualified for unemployed benefits, OR
- has experienced a reduction in household income, incurred significant costs, OR
- experienced a financial hardship due to COVID-19.
- Demonstrate a risk of being un-housed or housing instability.
The first window to apply will open Feb. 25 and close March 19. Residents can apply here during that time period.
Eligible applications will be placed in a computerized random order. Priority will be given to those households who earn 50 percent of the area median income or less, those who have been unemployed for 90 days prior to the application date and to those who owe rent arrears.
The funds can be used to pay rent and utility bills owed that was incurred from April 1, 2020 through March 1, 2021. Immigration status does not impact household eligibility to utilize the State funds.
Those who have previously applied to SERA and/or received funds for rental assistance can and will need to reapply if they have additional rental assistance needs.
There will be additional application periods throughout the year, officials said. Additional details on eligibility requirements and the application process can be found on SHRA’s SERA website.
Other COVID-19 resources including Wi-Fi access, youth programs and help accessing financial resources can be found on the City’s COVID relief website.