FAQs for prospective rental assistance applicants

Frequently Asked Questions if you need help paying your rent but have not applied yet

I thought there were two rental assistance programs in San Francisco: state program that covers April 2020 – March 2021, and local program that covers April 2021 and later – for a combined total of eighteen months of assistance?

In order to best serve applicants, the City has decided to provide one single application portal and fully utilize the California COVID-19 Rent Relief Program’s capacity to process applications in a 4-5 week processing cycle. This strategy has the benefits of: (1) using our state partner’s capacity to process existing applications that have been received by both programs before the eviction moratorium expires on September 30, (2) using the City's community partners to outreach to tenants who have not yet applied for rental assistance to submit their application as soon as possible, and (3) one application portal will make it easier for tenants and landlords to submit applications for rental assistance after the moratorium expires and evictions can be filed with the court.

Applicants will still be eligible for 18 months of assistance.

The local program application is no longer available; how do I get help with April 2021 and later?

Please apply at housingiskey.com or call 833-430-2122 to schedule a telephone or in-person appointment.

What are the eligibility requirements?

Visit housingiskey.com or call 833-430-2122 to learn if you are eligible.

TENANTS: If you have financial hardship during COVID-19, are income-eligible and have unpaid rent or utilities, or need help with future rent or utilities, you may apply to the California COVID-19 Rent Relief Program.

You must have had financial hardship during the pandemic

You can either:
•    have qualified for unemployment benefits
•    experienced a reduction in household income, incurred significant costs, or experienced other financial hardship

LANDLORDS: If you have tenants who are behind on their rent and need financial assistance to support their income loss, you may apply to the CA COVID-19 Rent Relief Program, so long as:

  • Your tenant’s household is income-eligible.
  • All payments you receive must be used to satisfy the tenant’s unpaid rent. Eligible timeframe for financial assistance dates back to April 1, 2020.
  • Your tenant(s) must take steps to verify that they meet eligibility requirements and sign the application. They will be notified once your application is submitted and asked to submit their required information.

Income-eligible applicants may qualify regardless of immigration status and will not be required to show proof of citizenship.

Will I get help if I meet the eligibility requirements?

Yes, all eligible applicants will be assisted until funding has been exhausted.

How long will it take to get help?

The California COVID-19 Rent Relief Program will process all applications within 4-5 weeks, so please apply as soon as possible if you have not already applied.

Do I have to apply before the end of the eviction moratorium to be protected from eviction?

Do not wait to apply! There are fewer safeguards against eviction if you apply after the end of the moratorium. We urge you not to risk losing your home by waiting to apply.

I am anxious to get rental assistance quickly because I have not paid my landlord 25% of the rent between September 1, 2020 and September 30, 2021 – and I have to do so before September 30. What should I do?

The City encourages all low-income tenants who need rental assistance to apply as soon as possible, especially if they have not paid 25% of the rent between September 2020 – September 2021 by September 30 as they are at greater risk of eviction.

While rental assistance will be available to tenants facing eviction, the City encourages landlords to access rental assistance funds before initiating eviction actions.

I have so much COVID-19 rental debt that I cannot pay that I feel like I need to move out, how confident should I feel that I will get help?

All eligible applicants will receive up to 18 months of assistance through the California COVID-19 Rent Relief Program until funding has been exhausted. If you have received 18 months of assistance and need more, please contact sfrenthelp@evictiondefense.org.

Last updated September 29, 2021