The city of San Diego and the San Diego Housing Commission have been awarded $8.3 million from the federal government to support the COVID-19 Housing Stability Assistance Program, it was announced Wednesday.

The funds were reallocated from other jurisdictions across the country. San Diego received the third-most reallocated funds in the nation, following Harris County, Texas — which includes Houston — with $8.6 million, and Philadelphia with $8.36 million.

“These additional rent relief dollars are coming because the federal government recognizes the outstanding job San Diego has done of getting previously allocated funding out the door and into the hands of renters in need of help,” said Mayor Todd Gloria, who recently met with American Rescue Plan Coordinator Gene Sperling to advocate for additional relief funds.

“The need continues to outpace the available resources, so my team will continue to work with our federal and state partners to bring more relief funding to the people of San Diego,” Gloria added.

The housing commission, which operates the housing stability assistance program, has paid out more than $152.8 million to help 14,813 households with low income experiencing financial hardship due to or during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“This new funding will enable the San Diego Housing Commission to help more families with low income pay their rent and utilities,” SDHC President and CEO Richard Gentry said. “These funds are a direct result of our program successfully getting payments out more quickly than other areas to help struggling households.”

The U.S. Treasury Department has been reallocating federal emergency rental assistance funds not yet spoken for in other jurisdictions. This includes making additional funds available to high-performing agencies based on demonstrated need, the SDHC said in a statement.

On Oct. 29, 2021, the SDHC submitted a request to the Treasury Department for $115 million in reallocated funds to support the housing program. It was awarded around 7% of the amount it requested. California requested $2 billion, but was awarded $50 million.

The Treasury Department reallocated $239.9 million to jurisdictions across the country. An additional $875.5 million was classified as “voluntary reallocation” specifically to jurisdictions within the same state to which the funds originally were awarded.

According to the SDHC, all the funding previously authorized for the COVID-19 Housing Stability Assistance Program has been fully obligated to assist households with low incomes, including applicants who have preliminary approval. However, the total obligations still exceed the available funding to help qualifying households.

Around $42.8 million remains available for the commission to provide assistance payments and $70.3 million is needed to fulfill requests from current applicants who have preliminary approval, the commission statement said.

–City News Group