Photo of an empty, open cardboard moving box and roll of packing tape sitting on a dark reclaimed wood console table set against a white wall, symbolizing the need for rental assistance in san diego.On July 20th, the City of San Diego, announced the one-time San Diego COVID-19 Emergency Rental Assistance Program that runs through August 7. The San Diego Housing Commission program provides a one-time payment from the city directly to a household’s landlord, up to $4000.

Details of the New Program for COVID-19 Emergency Rental Assistance in San Diego

Not every person or household that applies will receive compensation, even if they qualify for the program. All applicants to the program will be chosen through a random selection process where they are assigned a random number that may or may not be chosen for consideration. In addition, priority will be given to households with minor children, and households with at least one person 62 years or older as a resident.

Qualification for the San Diego Rental Assistance Program

There are several criteria that must be met to submit an application for one-time rental assistance:

Reside in the city of San Diego.Have experienced a hardship directly related to coronavirus COVID-19.Currently not receiving any rental subsidies.Currently not a housed as a tenant in a property managed or owned by the San Diego Housing Commission.Household has current, eligible immigration status.Household does not have current savings to meet its financial needs.Household income as of January 2020 was at 60% or below of San Diego Area Median Income.


Household Size

60% of San Diego Median Income


















Documents Necessary to Apply for the San Diego Emergency Rental Assistance Program

As part of the qualification process, the program requires that applicants submit several documents, including:

  • Current photo identification (Driver’s License, California State ID, or United States Passport).
  • Current rental lease agreement.
  • Current utility bill for address verification purposes.
  • Proof of household income.
  • Proof of loss of income or increased medical expenses due to coronavirus COVID-19.

The Application Process

The application process for the one-time San Diego Rental Assistance program can be completed online. If potential applicants do not have internet access or knowledge enough to complete the application themselves, there are organizations ready to help applicants submit applications for rental assistance. Those interested in help applying or help applying without internet access can call (619) 535-6921.

Online Application

Having access to an email address is necessary to complete the application for rental assistance online. Access to a smartphone with camera capability is also almost a necessity because the online application will ask the applicant to upload all the necessary documents. While you may already have these documents stored electronically, if you do not, keep in mind that your smartphone can help with the upload process.

Some tips for uploading application documents:

  1. Use your smartphone to take pictures of all your necessary documents.
  2. Use your smartphone to send those documents to yourself via email.
  3. Download your documents to your desktop or laptop.
  4. Upload documents to the application online from your desktop or laptop.


When Will Approved Applicants Be Notified If They Will Receive Compensation?

Applications for the emergency rental assistance program are being accepted through August 7, 2020 according to the San Diego Housing Commission (SDHC). Applicants are notified by email immediately after application that their application has been received. The SDHC website states that applicants will be notified of their approval or denial from mid-August through September. Payments will also begin to be distributed in mid-August, running through October 2020 as funds are available.

Applicants can also check the status of their application at any time on the SDHC website on your desktop, laptop or on a mobile device.

Alerting Your Landlord

Your landlord must register on the City of San Diego COVID-19 Emergency Rental Assistance Program website in order to receive funds awarded to you as a tenant. Unfortunately, if a landlord refuses to register and accept the terms, the tenant cannot use any funds awarded to them. The SDHC website encourages tenants to notify their landlords prior to acceptance or denial, but it is understandable that tenants may be hesitant to notify prior to approval. There is no specific information as to by what date approved applicants must claim their funds.

Donating to the City of San Diego COVID-19 Emergency Rental Assistance Program

Those not in need of rent relief in this difficult time can give back and donate to the City of San Diego COVID-19 Emergency Rental Assistance Program through the SDHC. Donations are tax deductible and facilitated through a 501(c)(3).