The city of Monterey recently mailed checks totaling $56,000 worth of assistance for the first 15 tenants who qualified for the city's Emergency Rental Assistance Program, which began on Aug. 24, according to City Manager Hans Uslar. That's an average of $3,733 per renter.
The money is sent directly to landlords with a letter from the city. A copy of that letter is sent to tenants as proof that the rent was paid.
The 15 approved for the program are the first of over 65 people who applied, Uslar told reporters on a briefing call on Thursday. There are 45 applications still being considered and the program is still accepting new applications. The program is open to anyone who lives or works in the city.
Some people who initially applied dropped out of the program, either because they don't qualify or they no longer need assistance, Uslar said. For some their income increased; others worked out a plan with their landlords.
The program, which was approved by the Monterey City Council, began with just over $800,000 in funds that came from Community Development Block Grants, CARES Act funds and revenue from rent the city receives from its affordable housing units and redevelopment projects.
Recently the city received over $395,000 in additional Community Development Block Grants, and some of that money could make its way into the rental assistance program, if the City Council votes to do so at an upcoming meeting in October, Uslar said.
Monterey's grant is part of just over $3 million in CDBG funds received by Monterey, Salinas, Seaside and the county government, according to an announcement from U.S. Rep. Jimmy Panetta, D-Carmel Valley. The money is earmarked for federal housing programs to help respond to Covid-19. The money comes from the CARES Act, and through the Department of Housing and Urban Development.