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OCEANSIDE, Calif. — There’s $107 million up for grabs in San Diego County. It’s part of the Emergency Rental Assistance Program and you may be surprised how many people qualify.

“The idea behind the program is to provide back rent, future rent (and) utility costs to help renters be caught up on their back rent and to help to make landlords whole for their rental income,” San Diego County Housing Director David Estrella explained.

In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, the state of California received federal money to help with the deepening economic crisis. The state allocated more than $100 million to San Diego County.

A large portion of the county’s population now qualifies for the assistance. Estrella gave an example: “A family of 4 earning roughly $98,000 or below would be eligible for assistance.”

Landlords and renters can check eligibility and apply by calling 858-694-4801 or online by visiting There is no deadline to apply, but county leaders suggest starting the process as soon as possible. Money will be allocated on a first come, first served basis until it is gone.

“We’re hoping to spend this $107 million as quickly as we can,” Estrella told FOX 5 Thursday. “It’s an infusion of money into our local economy.”

Oceanside resident Tiffanny Piraino learned about the program from her landlord and decided to apply. “She gave me the information, I was very lucky for her to give it to me because if not, I would never have known about it,” Piraino said.

The average applicant is receiving $4,500 right now; however, Piraino had been out of work for nearly a year and received much more. She was very far behind on rent but was able to pay 80% of what she owed with federal money, while the other 20% was forgiven.