The state of California officially launched a rental assistance program on March 15 using state and federal Covid relief money, but Monterey County renters will need to be patient for just a week longer. Contract agency United Way Monterey County announced today that the Monterey County Emergency Rental Assistance Program will be available to eligible renters on March 23.
Those eligible include low-income tenants as well as those at immediate risk of homelessness or rental debt of up to 12 months, the agency said in a press release. A total of $28 million will be made available, combining money from the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021 passed by the Congress in late December and the eviction moratorium passed the the state Legislature on Jan. 28, which included the State Rental Assistance Program.
Monterey County contracted with United Way to distribute the money after the nonprofit successfully distributed $1.25 million in CARES Act funds on behalf of the county last fall.
Distributing $28 million comes with more coordination, however, and United Way President and CEO Katy Castagna told the Weekly in February her staff was working as quickly as possible to coordinate distribution through a variety of community partners.
There are 13 nonprofits and cities in all that will help distribute the funds, which include help with utilities as well as rent. The cities involved are:
- King City
On Monday, Monterey Assistant City Manager Nat Rojanasathira told reporters during a briefing that his city is receiving $1.25 million in funds, which will allow it to continue the program they began last August that distributed $962,000 to aid 162 households, both city residents and people who work in the city.
The nonprofits distributing funds are:
- Central Coast Energy Services
- Goodwill Central Coast
- Hartnell College Foundation
- Monterey Peninsula College Foundation
- North County Recreation and Park District
- Salvation Army
“The main goal of this emergency rental assistance program is to keep people housed and prevent homelessness,” said Castagna in a written statement. “The current moratorium prevents landlords from evicting tenants who can’t afford to pay rent, but eventually tenants still have to pay what they owe. This program will help offset the money that is still owed, and help landlords pay their mortgage and tenants can be relieved of crushing debt loads."
More information about eligibility and program details is available on the United Way website.
People can also call 211 Monterey County by dialing 2-1-1 to be screened for eligibility.