A total of $1.3 million in rental assistance is still available for Santa Barbara County residents through the United Way of Santa Barbara County.
The rental assistance, offered in partnership with the county, provides grants to eligible residents and families living in unincorporated areas. The applicants must meet specific requirements to receive the funds, which were made possible by the county through federal grants received from the CARES Act.
In total, the county was provided $46 million in funding through the CARES Act. The county Board of Supervisors set aside $7.5 million of the funds to assist with local “vulnerable populations,” with $2 million going to emergency rental assistance to help those who have lost jobs or experience a cut in income due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Families can receive up to $1,000 in rental assistance per month for up to three months. Payments would go directly to landlords to ensure the assistance is used for rent payments.
Residents of the following unincorporated areas are eligible to apply: Burton Mesa; Casmalia; Cuyama; Eastern Goleta Valley; Gaviota; Isla Vista; Los Alamos; Los Olivos; Montecito; Orcutt; Santa Ynez; Summerland; and Vandenberg Village.
“When someone loses their job it quickly leads to food insecurity and threatens other basic needs for themselves and their families. This soon transitions to literally trying to keep a roof over their heads,” Steve Ortiz, President and CEO of United Way of Santa Barbara County, said in a statement.
Michael Kling and his family were one of the local recipients. After he and his wife lost their jobs in the spring, they were able to get by for a few months using unemployment benefits and their savings but that soon dried up. They were grateful to learn about the rental assistance program.
“This has been a little bit of a ray of sunshine, I think, to give us that extra housing security,” said Mr. Kling, whose three-month rent assistance ends after next month. “Knowing that everything’s taken care of now through November, as we go up into the holidays… it’s made a big difference to us.”
Families or individuals seeking the assistance must have lost income due to the COVID-19 pandemic and live in unincorporated areas of the County and can check if their address is eligible using this map from United Way. Eligible families must also fall below certain income thresholds. To check eligibility requirements and to apply visit www.unitedwaysb.org.
— Mitchell White