Rent relief, emergency vouchers still available in Inland Empire

RIVERSIDE – Across the Inland Empire and the state of California, renters still have eviction protections and access to relief programs, either through their local housing authority or the state.

Already, the state has paid or approved $1.7 billion in rental relief payments that have kept residents in their homes through the pandemic, according to the California Business, Consumer Services, and Housing Agency, and there is still more funding available for those in need through the COVID-19 Rent Relief program. The program continues to have funding to pay 100% of back rent or future rent to eligible tenants, and anyone who needs rental assistance is encouraged to apply as soon as possible.

Renters working through the relief application and approval process will have protections in eviction proceedings.

How to get help

The city of San Bernardino and Riverside County both have local rent relief programs for residents, and residents of surrounding municipalities like Colton, Rialto and Fontana can access state relief funds if eligible. You can enter your address to see which program you are eligible for and apply at CA COVID-19 Rent Relief - Housing Is Key. The relief does not count as earned income and will not affect any other food or health benefits.

Financial eligibility will be determined in the application process, so renters applying will need to provide one of the following: 

  • Your 2020 Tax Return
  • 2020 W2 and 1099G if you were unemployed
  • Current pay stubs
  • Proof of participation in a state or federal subsidy program such as CalFresh or CalWORKS (your 2020 or 2021 acceptance or renewal letter is preferred)

Those who meet the income requirements will not need to provide proof of citizenship to receive relief through this program.

Emergency vouchers

Another new Emergency Housing Voucher program came online Monday, Oct. 4 and is available to families in Riverside and San Bernardino who: are homeless or at risk of being homeless; are fleeing domestic or dating violence, sexual assault, stalking, human trafficking; were recently homeless and assistance will prevent a return to homelessness. This program differs from the COVID-19-related relief programs and focuses on assisting families who are struggling for a number of reasons.

Families cannot apply for this program on their own. They must be referred by a partner agency in the continuum of care or the county's Coordinated Entry System. The list of partners who can provide referrals is available at https://bit.ly/EHVpartners. Riverside residents can call 800-498-8847 for assistance, and San Bernardino residents can email EHV@hacsb.com.

After being referred, the Housing Authority will determine eligibility. If approved, the family will select a unit from a private landlord. Assistance will be available to help families find a home. If the unit passes an inspection and the family leases the unit, they will pay a portion of rent to the landlord (typically 30% of their income) and the Housing Authority will pay the rest.

You can learn more about the different housing resources currently available in California at Housing Is Key (ca.gov).

Posted: October 8, 2021