The city will take the next several months to field applications and distribute more than $90 million in aid, thanks to initial funding from the U.S. Treasury, and a follow-up boost of federal funds from the Biden Administration's American Rescue Plan.
"This has been a year of challenges unlike anything we've faced before, and the economic fallout of the pandemic has been devastating for so many businesses and employees," said San Francisco Mayor London Breed in a statement from the city. "This rent relief is critical to helping tenants and small property owners get back on their feet as we continue on with our economic recovery,"
Interested applicants must prove they have qualified for unemployment benefits or seen their household income plunge as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.
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"San Francisco's rent relief program will play a big part in keeping families secure in their homes," said California Assemblymember David Chiu of San Francisco in the city's press release. "However, these programs are only good if the public take advantage of them. I encourage all renters who may be struggling with unpaid rent to apply for this assistance as soon as possible."
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San Francisco officials have stressed that the program will primarily focus on assisting the city's most vulnerable populations. It will involve a number of evidence-based factors in the application process, including past homelessness and other economic or social indicators.
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The proposed money would cover three months of previous rent charges, and up to three months of future rent.
San Francisco's rent assistance program follows a $2.6 billion rent funding proposal from Governor Gavin Newsom, tucked in his 2022 budget. An unexpected $38 billion state budget surplus has sparked Newsom's push to provide the state with 100% COVID-19 rent relief.
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For more information about the city's rent assistance program, visit sf.gov/renthelp.
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