Individuals and Businesses Can Get Emergency Assistance

S.B. Foundation and United Way Funding Support Is Available

Credit: Daniel Dreifuss (file)

As residents of Santa Barbara County continue to struggle with the long-term financial implications of the COVID-19 pandemic, assistance grants for eligible small businesses and tenants aim to ease the economic burden.

The Santa Barbara Foundation, in partnership with the City of Santa Barbara, will support grants of up to $7,500 to qualifying small businesses in the city that have faced economic hardship as a result of COVID-19. These grants will enable businesses with less than $2 million in gross total sales in 2019 and between three and 25 employees to continue operations in the short term while adapting to current public health guidelines.

“Small businesses are the economic engine in this community. Together with the Santa Barbara Foundation, the city is helping lift up this important sector of our local economy,” Mayor Cathy Murillo said in a press release.

The grant application is available through Thursday, October 15. For more information, eligibility criteria, and grant uses, visit

Resources are also available for eligible residents of unincorporated areas of Santa Barbara County who demonstrate the need for rental support. These funds — provided by United Way of Santa Barbara County’s COVID-19 Emergency Rental Assistance Program — allow people who have experienced a loss or reduction of income to meet their essential needs. Officials estimate that the program will assist 600 households.

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Due to additional CARES Act funding after the distribution of initial funds, residents of the City of Santa Barbara may also be eligible for rental support through United Way’s City of Santa Barbara Rental Assistance program.

Both programs cite income as an eligibility criteria. For a single individual, income must be at or below $66,750 per year. For a family of four, the criteria is $95,300. More details can be found here.

“The pandemic has highlighted the precarious financial situation and extreme stress many county residents are experiencing,” said Steven Ortiz, president and CEO of United Way. “Every day we hear from local individuals who have lost work and cannot afford rent, food, medicine, or other necessary bills due to the current health crisis. Thanks to our partnership with the County of Santa Barbara, many of these individuals can now meet these basic needs.”

Both the COVID-19 Emergency Rental Assistance Program and the City of Santa Barbara Rental Assistance program will be available until all funds are expended or November 30, 2020, whichever is first. For more information and eligibility criteria, visit

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