San Diego slow to send relief to struggling tenants

Katie R. Ochoa
Genea Wall, a City Heights resident who was recently approved for San Diego’s rent relief program, speaks at a downtown protest over San Diego Mayor Todd Gloria’s budget proposal, May 25, 2021. The protesters advocated spending more on housing and other community issues. (Zoë Meyers/inewsource)

More than two months ago, the San Diego region was awarded $211 million in state and federal funds to help landlords and low-income tenants who were financially impacted by the pandemic.

But only 2% of that money has been sent to eligible households, according to data obtained by inewsource in mid-May. Some are just now receiving updates about the status of their applications and many others are still waiting, housing advocates say.

The two-month turnaround to process applications and send payments to eligible households has been a problem for struggling tenants who are left in the dark. The state of California is also holding local agencies to a Sept. 30 deadline to commit 65% of the available funding.


inewsource is an independent and nonprofit journalism organization in San Diego, and relies on grants and philanthropists to support its investigative content. Click here to learn more.


The San Diego Housing Commission, which oversees the city’s assistance program, raised alarms in an urgent letter to Gov. Gavin Newsom last month. Rick Gentry, the housing agency’s president and CEO, said unless changes are made to the program, the city “likely will not be able to expend all of the available funding within the limited time allowed.”

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