SANTA ANA – Santa Ana’s COVID-19 Emergency Rental Assistance Program has reached a significant milestone – more than $16 million in funding for rental assistance has been distributed to 2,791 low-income Santa Ana households who suffered financial hardship because of the pandemic.
The City of Santa Ana first began providing rental assistance in May 2020. At that time, assistance was limited to $1,500 per household. This amount was doubled to $3,000 per household in August 2020 and then later increased again to $5,500 in March 2021. Following the State of California’s lead to pay off 100% of past due rent, the City revised its rental assistance program in June 2021 to cover up to 100% of rental arrears for Santa Ana households. Renters who had previously received assistance under one of the lower amounts were also recertified for additional assistance up to the amount they owe in rental arrears.
Since March 2021, the City has been disbursing emergency rental assistance (ERA) funds from the Department of Treasury. So far, the City has disbursed over 90% of the first round of ERA1 funds received from the Treasury. Only a handful of jurisdictions across the country have reached this threshold. In addition, the City has disbursed $1.7 million of the second round of ERA2 funds from the Treasury. Applications have been accepted on an on-going basis for the entire last year since August 2020, and there are only 541 households currently waiting for assistance. Any new applications the City receives are immediately sent for review and funding is readily available to assist new families who need assistance. Families who may have had difficulty during the application process are encouraged to reach out to the City for assistance. Any family who currently needs rental assistance will be served.
To support the ongoing operations and management of the emergency rental assistance program, the City of Santa Ana partnered with local non-profit providers, continually adding more partner organizations to maintain a high level of customer service and to process the applications thoroughly and efficiently. The eight non-profit organizations are The Salvation Army, Catholic Charities of Orange County, Latino Health Access, Families Forward, Families Together of Orange County, South County Outreach, Community Action Partnership of Orange County, and Lutheran Social Services of Southern California. Thanks to these partners and the Orange County United Way, the City has successfully assisted over 2,791 households so far.
The City has relied on both traditional and non-traditional outreach methods to share critical information about this program. This includes, but is not limited to, mass-mailings to every multi-family property business license holder, personalized text messages to our residents, monthly workshops after regular business hours in English, Spanish and Vietnamese, and hand-delivery of multi-lingual program brochures directly to over 52,000 residential units in the City.
Santa Ana renters who owe past due rent and need assistance are encouraged to apply immediately before the end of the State’s eviction moratorium on September 30, 2021. Applications are available at www.santa-ana.org/cares-for-tenants or can be requested directly from Latino Health Access at (657) 229-5450 or LHARent@latinohealthaccess.org.