Rent Payment Help on Tap

United Way and County Offer Nearly $1 Million for Tenant Payments

Credit: Courtesy of Jinyun | Unsplashed

Hundreds of thousands of Americans are facing possible eviction as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, including many residents of the Santa Barbara community. As calls from advocacy groups to extend the eviction moratorium in the county intensify, United Way of Santa Barbara County is partnering with the County of Santa Barbara to distribute nearly a million dollars in rental assistance funds directly to landlords on behalf of tenants who are unemployed and behind on their payments. Individual assistance is also available to Goleta residents suffering hardships.

In order to qualify for the rental assistance, applicants must live in an unincorporated area of Santa Barbara County — or outside the incorporated cities — areas that include Buellton, Solvang, Carpinteria, Summerland, Isla Vista, and Guadalupe. They must also fall under certain income thresholds, which vary based on household size. The lowest threshold, for a single individual, is $66,750. Additional criteria for those “enrolled in higher education” apply as well, such as age, veteran status, and dependent children. Further information regarding eligibility for residents and students, including the income thresholds, can be found at

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The grant, which totals $890,000, offers up to $5,000 for three months’ rent, and the funds were allocated to the county by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development by way of the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) program. The program comes at a critical time for many families in the community, especially those who were already struggling with bill payments prior to the devastating economic upheaval that came along with the ongoing global health crisis.

“We anticipate high demand from local renters for these limited funds,” said Sarah Duenas, a representative for United Way. “We encourage any prospective applicants who meet the requirements to apply as soon as possible to be considered for funding.”

The grants to Goleta residents are for basics such as food and medicine. Eligible applicants must show lost wages and employment, or childcare and education needs, due to COVID-19. Up to $1,000 can go to individuals and up to $2,000 for families. To learn more and apply, click here.

Applications will be reviewed by a representative from Family Service Agency, a nonprofit organization contracted by United Way, and prospective candidates will be contacted directly to determine their eligibility.

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