Chula Vista residents still reeling from the financial havoc caused by the COVID-19 pandemic may now qualify to have 100 percent of past due rent and utilities covered by the state under a $5.2 billion rent relief program.

Changes to the Emergency Rental Assistance Program, which began in March and made $16.8 million available in state and federal funding, was expanded in July for new applicants and previously approved applications following the passage of AB832.

For residents with past-due rent assistance paid to landlords, this program will now pay 100 percent of past due rent (called rental arrears) for those who qualify. The program previously paid 80 percent with an agreement from the landlord to forgive the remaining 20 percent.

All applicants previously been approved for assistance will automatically be allocated the additional assistance to provide 100 percent of funds approved.

Eligible households can receive payment assistance for past-due and upcoming bills and utilities, including rent, water, sewer, trash, gas and electric bills. Chula Vista renters and landlords, on behalf of their tenants, may apply but must meet eligibility requirements. 

The funding will continue to be distributed through the program in collaboration with South Bay Community Services San Diego. The organization will prioritize applications based on outstanding rent, household income and employment status. Within those priority groups the applications will be processed on a first-come, first-served basis.

Financial assistance is available for past due rent from April 1, 2020 to March 31, 2021. Tenants can also apply for past-due utilities and for current and future rent assistance. Tenants are limited to a total of 12 months of financial assistance. 

Eligible residents should apply online as soon as possible and call (619) 271-1805 for assistance with any questions regarding the application. Information is available in English, Spanish and Tagalog.

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