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Renters! Friday is the application deadline for Orange County’s Covid-19 rental assistance program. But, even more help is on the horizon

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Dibya Sarkar

Managing Editor

Wednesday, February 17, 2021


Residents facing imminent eviction can get help through a federally funded Orange County program that pays past due rents. But they only have until Friday, Feb. 19 at 6 p.m. to apply to the Covid-19 Eviction Diversion Program. No new applications will be accepted after the deadline. The program is closing as the county transitions to a new rental assistance initiative.

The Eviction Diversion program — funded through the CARES Act (Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act) — pays up to $4,000 in past due rent for tenants who are in “imminent danger of eviction.” The money is paid directly to landlords. While either a tenant or a landlord can apply to the program, both parties must agree to participate and must meet certain eligibility requirements, according to the county.

Since the program was launched Aug. 25, it has provided more than $11.2 million to help 3,571 individuals and families stay in their homes, according to a county press release. About $13.3 million in total has been allocated for the county program, funded through the CARES Act that provided rental assistance as well as money for small businesses and state, local and tribal governments affected by the pandemic.

However, residents will still have a lifeline after the deadline. On March 1, the county will roll out another emergency rental assistance program that will distribute $33.4 million in federal funds to help the most vulnerable tenants facing removal. The county said it will soon provide more information about this program, including a comprehensive list of eligibility requirements.

The new Orange County program is funded through the second $900 billion stimulus package that was signed into law at the end of 2020. Among other measures, that package provides $25 billion to help U.S. households, affected by the pandemic, pay rent and utilities.

The second stimulus package also extended an eviction moratorium until Jan. 31. But the Biden administration extended that until March 31 through a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention order. Orange County notes that the CDC order doesn’t automatically shield tenants, who must meet certain eligibility requirements (see CDC’s FAQ about the order) and must provide a signed CDC Declaration form to their landlord to be protected.

Residents can find a list of Orange County Covid-19 resources and assistance information here.

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