In partnership with the County of Santa Barbara, United Way is offering rental assistance grants to eligible individuals and families living in unincorporated areas. Eligible applicants must meet specific requirements. The funds were made possible by the County of Santa Barbara through federal grants received from the CARES Act.
The funding comes from the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act, which gave Santa Barbara County a total of about $46 million in funding.
The County Board of Supervisors set aside $7.5 of that CARES Act funding for local “vulnerable populations,” with $2 million of that going to emergency rental assistance to help families and individuals who have lost jobs or seen incomes cut due to the COVID-19 crisis.
“There are probably thousands of families and individuals out there who are eligible, but may not have heard the news about this assistance,” said Dinah Lockhart, Deputy Director for the County’s Housing and Community Development Division.
Lockhart also praised the United Way’s reach and resources, creating an important partnership with the County.
“Not only are they able to get rental assistance out to families, but families can talk to a case manager and talk about other concerns they might have,” she said.
If approved, families can receive up to $1,000 of rental assistance per month for up to three months. Payments would go directly to landlords to ensure the assistance goes directly to rent payments.
Unincorporated cities include but are not limited to:
- Burton Mesa
- Eastern Goleta Valley
- Isla Vista
- Los Alamos
- Los Olivos
- Santa Ynez
- Vandenberg Village
The United Way of Santa Barbara County is spreading the word. The organization is offering online resources and an application to help deliver the rental assistance to families in need, in unincorporated areas of the County.
“It’s really a scary domino effect,” said Steve Ortiz, President and CEO of United Way of Santa Barbara County. “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,” said Ortiz
Cities like Santa Barbara and Goleta had similar funding allocated for emergency rental assistance. The County, however, still has roughly $1 million it can provide to eligible families before a deadline at the end of November.
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 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.
About United Way of Santa Barbara County
United Way of Santa Barbara County (UWSBC) has the unique and positive vision that “in our community, everyone has a hopeful future.” Since 1923, UWSBC has served Santa Barbara County community through funding, volunteer development, and by utilizing its own unique initiatives that involve dozens of local nonprofit and public sector agencies. UWSBC’s local community driven Power of Partnership™ priorities help children, families and seniors with a focus on Education, Income and Health. To learn more, please visit unitedwaysb.org.