August 25, 2020

SDHC Awarded $100,000 Economic Relief Grant from Bank of America for COVID-19 Emergency Rental Assistance Program

Community and businesses are encouraged to help households in need by making donations to the program’s GoFundMe campaign

SAN DIEGO, CA — Additional low-income individuals and families experiencing financial hardship due to COVID-19 will receive one-time emergency help to pay their rent thanks to a $100,000 grant from Bank of America to the San Diego Housing Commission (SDHC) for the City of San Diego’s COVID-19 Emergency Rental Assistance Program.

“San Diego’s COVID-19 Emergency Rental Assistance Program included a philanthropic component to increase the relief we can provide to San Diego renters,” said City Councilmember Chris Ward, who proposed the rental assistance program to the City Council. “I want to thank Bank of America for their contribution and encourage residents and businesses that are able to assist their fellow San Diegans by making a donation to the program.”

Philanthropic donations supplement the federal funding the City Council allocated to this program so more families and individuals can receive the help they need as the global COVID-19 pandemic continues. Restrictions on the use of federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act funds do not apply to private donations that support this program.

Tax-deductible donations made payable to SDHC Building Opportunities Inc., SDHC’s nonprofit affiliate, may be made through the nonprofit’s GoFundMe charity page for this program.

“Bank of America’s generous financial support will provide important stability for more families with low income who are struggling financially because of COVID-19 and need help to remain in their homes,” SDHC President & CEO Richard C. Gentry said.

The City of San Diego’s COVID-19 Emergency Rental Assistance Program will provide one-time payments of up to $4,000 per qualifying household to pay past-due or upcoming rent.

“In addition to health impacts, the pandemic has created tremendous financial disruption to San Diego’s communities and businesses, with a disproportionate impact to lower-income households and communities of color. The combination of job or income loss with mounting bills makes emergency rental assistance programs like this one particularly critical,” said Rick Bregman, San Diego market president, Bank of America. “We encourage other San Diego companies to contribute the Housing Commission’s impactful COVID-19 Emergency Rental Assistance Program.”

The San Diego City Council on June 30, 2020, voted unanimously to authorize the expenditure of $15.1 million in federal CARES Act funds for the emergency rental assistance program, which would assist approximately 3,400 households.

More than 8,300 City of San Diego households submitted applications to the program during the application period of July 20, 2020, through August 7, 2020. Of those, a preliminary review identified more than 5,200 applications meet the program’s eligibility criteria:

  • The household lives at a City of San Diego address.
  • Household income in January 2020 was at or below 60 percent of the San Diego Area Median Income, based on household size ($64,200 per year for a family of four).
  • The household is NOT currently receiving any rental subsidies.
  • The household is NOT currently a tenant of a property owned or managed by SDHC.
  • The household does NOT have savings to meet their financial need.
  • The household has eligible immigration status (U.S. citizen/U.S. National, lawful permanent resident/conditional permanent resident, a refugee/person seeking asylum or granted asylum).
  • The household experienced hardship directly related to COVID-19.

All applicants who meet the eligibility requirements will have the opportunity to be selected to receive assistance. Priority is given to families with minor children and households with at least one person age 62 or older. Applications are sorted and assigned numbers at random to identify the applicants who will receive help to pay their rent.

SDHC staff will coordinate with selected applicants and their landlord or property management company to disburse payments. All payments will be made directly to the landlord or property management company by direct deposit.

Payments are expected to be made beginning in the next two weeks and continuing through September and potentially into October.

SDHC administers the City’s COVID-19 Emergency Rental Assistance Program. Residents with questions about the program may contact 2-1-1 or one of the eight Community-Based Organizations (CBOs) that helped individuals and families complete their applications:

These CBOs are among 60 organizations to which SDHC reached out to ask for help to raise awareness about the program and potentially help households complete their applications. All of the CBOs SDHC contacted are mission-driven, serving diverse populations throughout the City of San Diego.

Additional information about the program is available by phone at (619) 535-6921 or on SDHC’s website.

For information about this and other programs in response to COVID-19, please visit SDHC’s website,


Media Contact: 

 Scott Marshall, Vice President of Communications

San Diego Housing Commission

619-578-7138; [email protected]

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