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SAN DIEGO — San Diegans can apply for funds to help with rent and utility bills beginning Tuesday.

Applications for San Diego County’s Emergency Rental Assistance Program will be open from March 2-16.

The program is funded by about $100 million from the state and federal government with the goal of lessening the burden of housing costs for struggling families, particularly low-income renters who lost wages because of the coronavirus pandemic. The funds can be used for back rent or utilities payments, covering the period of time from April 2020 through March 2021.

To be eligible, households must be renting and have experienced a financial hardship related to COVID-19, or have qualified for unemployment during the pandemic. Eligible hardships include a reduction in household income or incurring significant costs making you at risk of losing your home.

Breaking it down, households cannot earn more than 80% of the area’s median income to qualify. A single-person household can’t earn more than $64,700 and a four-person household can’t earn more than $92,400.

Once your application is received, the county will prioritize based on need and depending on where you live. Applicants cannot be receiving any other rental assistance. 

First priority will be given to households with incomes below 50% of the average, individuals who have been out of work for three months or more and single-parent households.

The application can be found on the San Diego County Housing And Community Development Services website.