Keeping People in Their Homes Through COVID-19
June 11, 2020 12:09 PM
by Setareh Yavari
As a community of 70% renters, we know that secure, stable housing is one of the most important resources for our residents. And while key protections afforded by the City’s eviction moratorium remain in place, we know postponing rent is not enough to keep people in their homes. As the City organization is restructured in response to COVID-19 and a resulting budget deficit, investments in housing protections are preserved and actually increasing. City Council took an unprecedented step at their May 26 meeting by advancing programs that will provide housing assistance to those who need it most.
The Preserving our Diversity (POD) program will provide $2 million in annual cash assistance for 250 to 450 very low-income seniors living in rent-controlled apartments to help them meet their basic needs. To see if you would qualify for this program, and to register, view information at https://www.santamonica.gov/housing-pod
The COVID-19 Rental Assistance Program will use $1.6 million in federal Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funding and $250,000 in City General Fund dollars to keep eligible low-income residents in their homes. City staff are working diligently to develop a formal application process so that the program can provide much-needed relief to tenants as they begin to recover from the deep financial impacts of COVID-19.
Like communities across the county, COVID-19 has deeply impacted Santa Monicans in many ways. The economic impacts in particular have disproportionally affected our most vulnerable residents, including seniors and low-income households. In response, the City has taken steps to provide extra protections and resources to meet emergent needs. Since the COVID-19 shutdown, Santa Monica:
- Became the first City to put an eviction moratorium in place.
- Established a food pantry at Virginia Avenue Park.
- Issued 42 housing vouchers and connected 12 families to housing.
- Opened affordable housing waitlists for low- and moderate-income residents, including seniors and persons living with disabilities.
- Conducted phone outreach to seniors and connected them with resources.
- Contacted housing voucher participants to adjust rental assistance amounts to meet their current financial needs.
We want Santa Monica residents who are in need of housing assistance to stay informed about these opportunities as they become available. To get information about future application dates sent directly to your inbox, sign up for our community newsletter at santamonica.gov/newsletter.
You can also find additional resources for seniors at santamonica.gov/coronavirus-senior-resources