COUNTY OF SANTA BARBARA RENTAL & UTILITY GRANTS
The County of Santa Barbara's Emergency Rental & Utility Assistance through United Way of Santa Barbara County provided assistance to eligible residents who experienced a loss of income during the COVID-19 pandemic. The program is intended to prevent homelessness by providing rent assistance to qualifying residents.
The application portal closed on March 31, 2022. We are no longer accepting NEW applications for the Rental and Utility Assistance Program.
For legal advice, contact the Legal Aid Foundation at (805) 963-6754.
For questions regarding the Housing is Key California COVID-19 Rent Relief State Program, click here.
For any questions or technical support, please email us at email@example.com, or call at (805) 965-8591.
The Emergency Rent Assistance Program is intended to prevent homelessness by providing rent assistance to residents who experienced a loss of income due to, or during, coronavirus, also known as COVID-19. Program applicants at or below 50% AMI will be prioritized for assistance and offered additional housing counseling services. Previous awardees are eligible to receive additional funding by submitting a new application.
- One or more individuals within the household has qualified for unemployment benefits or experienced a reduction in household income, incurred significant costs, or experienced other financial hardship during or due, directly or indirectly, to the coronavirus pandemic
- one or more individuals within the household can demonstrate a risk of experiencing homelessness or housing instability.
- Must provide proof of residency in Santa Barbara County.
- Must provide a copy of the signed lease agreement or landlord confirmation if the lease is not available. Documentation must include the amount of rent and all individuals on the lease.
- For utility payments, the applicant must provide documentation of bills.
- Household income (households include all individuals on the lease agreement, related or not) must be 80% or below the Area Median Income for Santa Barbara County. See HOUSEHOLD INCOME LIMIT
- Program applicants at 50% or below the Area Median Income will be prioritized.
- Documentation of prior 2 months of income
If applicants are not able to provide documentation validating the amount of their rent, we may process an award up to a monthly maximum of 100 percent of the greater Fair Market Rent or the Small Area Fair Market Rent for the rental unit. This means that the award may be less than the amount of the rent a tenant pays. Additionally, the award granted under these terms is limited to three months at a time.
For relocation awards, rent reasonableness reviews will be conducted to determine whether the proposed rent is reasonable compared to similar units in the marketplace. In determining comparability, the following factors will be taken into consideration where appropriate and practical:
- Unit Type
- Housing Services
- Utilities the owner must provide under the lease.
The monthly rent of a unit must not exceed 40% of the household’s monthly income.
HOUSEHOLD INCOME LIMIT
To apply, the income of a household (all individuals on the lease agreement, related or unrelated) must be at or below 80% AMI (area median income).
Individuals per household - Income
- 1 - $78,350
- 2 - $89,550
- 3 - $100,750
- 4 - $111,900
- 5 - $120,900
- 6 - $129,850
- 7 - $138,800
- 8 - $147,750
- Driver's License
- CA ID Card
- Other government-issued identification which is not expired and has your photo
- Example: Mexico Consular ID Card
Proof of Residency: (Photo ID (see above) with current address)
- A recent bank statement that shows the applicant's name and address
- Utility bill or other bill that shows the applicant's name and address
Proof of Rental Agreement:
- Copy of lease or sublease SIGNED AND DATED by tenant and landlord, showing address, tenants, and the rental amount. If your rental hs increased from the amount which is on your lease then bring in the notice of increased rent showing the date rent increased and the amount it increased to.
Proof of Loss of Income / Financial Hardship Due (Directly or Indirectly) to COVID-19
- Any kind of documentation showing that any household member somehow lost income or suffered financial hardship due to increased costs during the COVID-19 pandemic:
- A letter from the employer showing a reduction in ours, pay stubs or bank statements before and after the loss of income, a letter from EDD showing they are/were receiving unemployment, etc.
- Write a short note explaining how COVID-19 caused your income to decline. General hardships will not be considered sufficient evidence of financial hardship. The note must be signed and dated and explain how the COVID-19 pandemic decreased your income in any way.
Proof of Income:
- Option 1: Enter the "adjusted gross income" from your 2020 or 2021 tax return filed with the IRS> The tax return must be signed and the first two pages must be uploaded.
- Option 2: Medicaid, Women, Infants and Children (WIC) benefits, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservations (FDPIR), Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), School Nutrition Programs (SNP), Subsidized housing (not including housing choice, project based, or Section 8 vouchers) that required income documentation as a condition of residency, Any household income-based state or federally funded assistance program for low-income persons or households, Any locally operated assistance program for low-income persons or households that requires household income verification and uses federal income limits. Any paperwork uploaded must show the name of the person receiving the benefit, the address of the person receiving the benefit, and must have been issued after January 1, 2020 or 2021.
- Option 3: Enter income information for every household member reporting income for each applicable type of income following the instructions below. Note: You will need to upload supporting documents for each type of income reported. IF USING PAYSTUBS TO VERIFY INCOME, YOU MUST PROVIDE 2 MONTHS' WORTH OF PAY STUBS.
If an adult household member does not have ANY income sources whatsoever, then you can select Option 3 and select NO INCOME as the source. You then MUST upload attachment C-Attestation of Zero Income for each person over 18 in the household who does not have an income. SIGNED AND DATED.
Proof of Risk of Housing Instability/Homelessness:
- Proof of financial hardship due to COVID-19 (see above)
- Past due rent and/or utility bills
- Eviction notice
- Utility shutoff notice
- SIGNED AND DATED note from landlord or tenant explaining housing instability
- Example: A letter stating that you are not able to pay your rent and are therefore at risk of becoming homeless/evicted
UP TO DATE LEGER SHOWING TOTAL RENTAL ARREARS OWED (If you are asking for rental arrears):
- An up-to-date ledger showing the total rental arrears owed to your landlord: the amount and for which months arrears are owed must be included. Ledger should be signed and dated BY LANDLORD. The ledger must be up to date to the current month or the last month you lived there if you have moved out.
UTILITIES: (If applicable)
- If you need assistance with arrears owed to a utility company, you will need to provide the most recent utility bill for each utility company you are requesting assistance with. You should be able to download it from the website for many utility companies as a single PDF, or you may receive the bill by mail every month.
- Proof of home ownership will be required by all private landlords to verify rental agreement. Proof of ownership may be requested of property management companies in the event the property management company requests checks be made out to the owner of the rental property.
- Awards will not be given to any tenant in a sub leasing agreement without proof of ownership provided by the owner of the unit.
- Award checks will not be made out to anyone other than the landlord as stated by the lease or rental agreement – no exceptions.
- In order to receive an award, landlords must provide a W9. Failure to submit a W9 means the award will be declined.
- Appeals: Applicants may appeal application denials based on program policy or calculations. Appeals shall be submitted to the County Community Services Department, Division of Housing and Community Development, at the address listed below, within seven (7) calendar days of the date of the application denial letter. The written appeal shall state the reason(s) why the applicant believes the application denial was in error and provide any additional documentation necessary to support the applicant’s assertion of same. The decision of the County Community Services Department Division of Housing and Community Development shall be returned to the appellant within 14 calendar days and shall be final.
County of Santa Barbara Community Services Department
Division of Housing and Community Development
123 East Anapamu Street, Suite 202
Santa Barbara, CA 93101
Attn: Emergency Rent Assistance Program Manager
- Once you have submitted an application, you will receive a confirmation email.
- If you have not received a confirmation email, please check your spam box and/or refresh your browser.
- If you have still not received a confirmation email, please contact us at 805-965-8591.
- After applications are submitted, they will be reviewed for eligibility.
- If an application is determined to be eligible for processing, a scheduler from the Family Service agency will contact the applicant to schedule an interview. The scheduler will remind the applicant to prepare all necessary forms of documentation to present during the scheduled interview.
- During the scheduled interview, the case manager will review the application and all supporting documentation.
- United Way of Santa Barbara County will make a final determination of the award.
- United Way of Santa Barbara County will make rent and utility payments directly to the landlord or the utility company. The applicant will receive an award letter in the mail detailing the amount and designated months of their award.
Please have all documentation ready at the time of your interview.
United Way of Santa Barbara County will be utilizing a new platform called Neighborly Software to process existing applications for the Rental and Utility Assistance grant program. Neighborly will allow applicants to update their information and upload required documentation.
In order for your application to be processed you MUST register with Neighborly Software. If you do not register with Neighborly, your application will not be processed. Once you have registered in Neighborly, please review, update your information and upload all required documentation to complete your application. Those applying for utility assistance must review and upload the most recent utility statement. Applications that have all required documentation uploaded will move on to the next phase in the application process. Only complete applications will be processed. If technical support is needed, please contact UWSBC to make an appointment with an ERAP representative 805.965.8591.
When registering for the first time, you will need to use the same email address you used when you originally submitted your ERAP application. Please note even if you have previously submitted an application with the State Housing is Key program in Neighborly, you will need to register a new account in Neighborly using the link below that will be associated with your Santa Barbara County/United Way rental assistance application.
Once your application has been received and reviewed to confirm eligibility, a case manager will contact you to schedule an interview. Make sure to provide a current phone number and email address to avoid delays.
If you received a denial notification in the mail, you may submit an appeal to the County of Santa Barbara. Appeals shall be submitted to the County Community Services Department, Division of Housing and Community Development, at the address listed below, within seven (7) calendar days of the date of the application denial letter. The written appeal shall state the reason(s) why the applicant believes the application denial was in error and provide any additional documentation necessary to support the applicant’s assertion of same. The decision of the County Community Services Department Division of Housing and Community Development shall be returned to the appellant within 14 calendar days and shall be final.
Santa Barbara, CA 93101
For more information or to view additional funding opportunities, please visit https://www.unitedwaysb.org/covid19/community-resources.
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