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Bank of America has awarded $100,000 to the San Diego Housing Commission to help low-income families experiencing hardship due to COVID-19 pay their rent, the commission announced Tuesday.

The one-time emergency grant will go toward the city of San Diego’s COVID-19 Emergency Rental Assistance Program, which the housing commission oversees.

“San Diego’s COVID-19 Emergency Rental Assistance Program included a philanthropic component to increase the relief we can provide to San Diego renters,” said City Councilman Chris Ward, who proposed the rental assistance program to the council. “I want to thank Bank of America for their contribution and encourage residents and businesses that are able to assist their fellow San Diegans by making a donation to the program.”

Donations have supplemented the federal funding the council allocated to this program. According to the SDHC, restrictions on the use of federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act funds do not apply to private donations that support this program.

“Bank of America’s generous financial support will provide important stability for more families with low income who are struggling financially because of COVID-19 and need help to remain in their homes,” said Richard C. Gentry, SDHC president and CEO.

The program will provide one-time payments to landlords and property management companies beginning in the next two weeks of up to $4,000 per qualifying household to pay past-due or upcoming rent. Payments are scheduled to continue through September and October.

“In addition to health impacts, the pandemic has created tremendous financial disruption to San Diego’s communities and businesses, with a disproportionate impact to lower-income households and communities of color,” said Rick Bregman, San Diego market president of Bank of America. “The combination of job or income loss with mounting bills makes emergency rental assistance programs like this one particularly critical. We encourage other San Diego companies to contribute the housing commission’s impactful COVID-19 Emergency Rental Assistance Program.”

The City Council voted unanimously on June 30 to authorize the expenditure of $15.1 million in federal CARES Act funds for the emergency rental assistance program, which was intended to assist approximately 3,400 households.

More than 8,300 households submitted applications between July 20 and August 7. Of those, a preliminary review identified more than 5,200 applications met the program’s eligibility criteria.

According to the housing commission, all applicants who meet the eligibility requirements will have the opportunity to be selected to receive assistance. Priority is given to families with minor children and households with at least one person age 62 or older.

Applications are sorted and assigned numbers at random to identify the applicants who will receive help.

–City News Service

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