SAN DIEGO — Has your family experienced major financial hardship due to the COVID-19 pandemic? If so, you may qualify for a new San Diego County grant program.
On Friday, the county communications office announced a couple thousand low-income families and seniors could receive $4,000 in cash to help them recover.
These one-time allocations are intended for San Diegans who live in one of the 39 zip codes that were hit the hardest by the pandemic, the county explained. Officials say this financial help is particularly garnered towards families and seniors who may be at risk of becoming homeless.
This grant program, which is called the Recovery Action Fund for Tomorrow (RAFT), was created by the Jewish Family Service. Officials say it’s funded by the county through the federal American Rescue Plan Act funds.
In order to be eligible for this grant program, the county says people and families must earn less than 200% of the federal poverty level. To break that down — this ranges from $29,160 a year for a single person to $60,000 for a family of four.
During a press conference at the County Administration Center Friday, County Board Chairwoman Nora Vargas and leaders from Jewish Family Service announced the application period for the RAFT funds open Monday, May 8.
“I noted in my State of the County Address in February that at the height of the pandemic, I heard firsthand about the hardships people were going through as they tried to make ends meet and stay in their homes,” said Vargas. “We know that struggle continues for many. We want this money to help people overcome those hardships.”
Families and individuals that qualify have until midnight on Sunday, May 21 to apply for the grant. County officials say applicants will need to submit documents to show they are eligible, including their identification and proof of household income levels.
More information on the RAFT program and the application process can be found here starting Monday.
According to the county communications office, 2,250 families or people will be selected randomly from the pool of applicants by Jewish Family Service to receive the money. The funds will be distributed electronically into people’s bank accounts, Venmo/PayPal accounts or other money sharing platforms.
“This one-time cash payment can be life changing for those recovering from the pandemic,” said Nick Macchione, director of the County’s Health and Human Services Agency. “This can help families, seniors and our most vulnerable neighbors secure permanent housing, invest in reliable transportation, or get over an economic hurdle.”
Those who receive money from this county grant program can use the funds as they see fit, county officials said.