SANTA MONICA — The city of Santa Monica has announced two new housing programs to help keep people in their homes, in addition to the eviction moratorium already in place as announced in a press release on Thursday, June 11.
The city stated, “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 a community of 70% renters, we know that secure, stable housing is one of the most important resources for our residents.”
The two new programs announced by Santa Monica are entitled Preserving Our Diversity and COVID-19 Rental Assistance Program. Preserving Our Diversity provides $2 million annually in cash assistance for 250-450 senior citizens in rent-controlled housing to help with basic needs.
The COVID-19 Rental Assistance Program utilizes $1.6 million from a Federal Community Development Block Grant and $250,000 from the city’s General Fund in order to keep eligible low-income residents in their homes. The program is intended to help tenants as they recover from the financial impacts of COVID-19. Santa Monica is currently working to develop a formal application for the program.
Despite Santa Monica facing a $224 million budget deficit over the next two years, funding for housing security has been preserved and increased.
On May 26, Santa Monica’s city council unanimously approved $6.4 million for key areas, one of them housing. On March 14, the city’s eviction moratorium went into place and is in effect until June 30 for both commercial and residential renters.
In addition to the aforementioned programs, Santa Monica recognizes COVID-19’s “economic impacts, in particular, have disproportionally affected our most vulnerable residents, including seniors and low-income households” and in response, has acted to meet emergent needs.
Santa Monica has issued 42 housing vouchers and connected 12 families to housing and has also established a food pantry at Virginia Avenue Park. Santa Monica has also opened affordable housing waitlists for low and moderate-income residents, including seniors and those with disabilities.
The city has conducted phone outreach to seniors to connect them with resources and worked with housing voucher participants to adjust rental assistance to their financial needs.
To apply for the Preserving our Diversity fund please visit https://www.santamonica.gov/housing-pod