The City of Irvine is rolling out its emergency rental assistance program and is accepting applications starting March 8.
In partnership with Orange County United Way, Irvine will allocate about $17.7 million for the initiative, which was funded through state and federal dollars.
“I continue to hear from our community about the hardships they face with job loss and financial strains,” Mayor Farrah Khan said in a statement. “It is vital that we help keep our residents in their homes. The rental assistance program will help us achieve this goal by providing relief for those who have been adversely affected by the pandemic.”
The program will provide funding for unpaid rent from last April 1 to March 31.
It will cover up to 80 percent of unpaid rent for eligible households if the landlord agrees to forgive the remaining 20 percent. If landlords aren’t willing to participate, eligible renters can be reimbursed for up to 25 percent of unpaid rent.
Susan Parks, president and chief executive of Orange County United Way, said she was glad her organization could support the initiative.
“The financial effects of COVID-19 have been felt across our community, and especially for many residential renters who may be struggling to make ends meet and to pay their monthly rent,” Parks said in a press release.
After the application period is finished, applicants will be chosen by a lottery system.
Households with back rent will be prioritized over those needing future rent, the city said. Priority will also be given to houses that have a 50 percent or below area median income (AMI), although those with up to 80 percent AMI are allowed to apply.
To qualify for the program, applicants must also have a valid and current lease, demonstrate financial hardship due to COVID-19, and not have received other rental assistance from any governmental agency.
The application period runs from March 8 to March 19.