Making It in the Bay

Sonoma County Stops Accepting Rental Assistance Program Applications Due to Lack of Funds

NBC Bay Area

Sonoma County paused applications its rental assistance program Friday to process the more than 4,000 outstanding applications that are expected to receive the remainder of the county's funds.

Since launching in April 2021, the program has provided nearly $25 million in assistance funds to 2,154 households that have been unable to pay rent due to the pandemic.

County officials anticipate the remaining applicants to the program will draw down what remains of the roughly $40 million in total that the state and federal governments allocated to Sonoma County for the rental assistance program.

Applications submitted before Friday will still be considered as funding allows.

According to the county, the program will reopen applications if more funding becomes available for the program.

"The pause will allow our community-based partners and staff to navigate through the remaining applications," county Supervisor James Gore said. "For ten months we have been able to provide millions in rental relief and seek to ensure the pending applications are funded as requested."

The assistance program has been open to county residents behind on either rent or utility payments as well as landlords whose tenants are behind on rent. The program fully covers back rent and, for some applicants, upcoming rent as well.

County residents must make less than 80 percent of the county's area median income - $90,900 for a family of four - to qualify for the rental assistance program.

According to county officials, nearly 55 percent of funds awarded through the program have gone to households making less than 30 percent of the AMI and 26 percent have gone to households making less than half.

"We appreciate our community-based partners who helped get rental assistance out, and we all share the hope that we'll secure additional funds to ensure that all persons in need receive the assistance they need," county Administrator Sheryl Bratton said.

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