As families struggle financially during the pandemic, we’ve highlighted different solutions like mandatory mediations and legal assistance services that are helping avoid a housing crisis. Santa Barbara County is addressing the issue with a novel comprehensive rental assistance program.
Approved last week by the county supervisors, the county will be the first in the nation to offer 100 percent rental assistance. The program spans a 15-month period and to qualify, applicants must make no more than 80 percent of the Area Median Income. Priority will be given to those making 50 percent or less. Previously, the assistance policy offered at most $6,000 or 80 percent of the amount owed.
The program is being set up in conjunction with United Way, a local nonprofit. Money will be distributed on a first-come-first-serve basis and applications can be made online or by calling the Santa Barbara Rental Property Owners Association.
Santa Barbara hopes this will offer assistance to those most vulnerable to Covid-19 related financial hardships and avoid a potential wave of evictions when the state moratorium on evictions ends June 30.