Apartments in the San Diego neighborhood of Talmadge are shown on Jan. 2, 2019.
Apartments in the San Diego neighborhood of Talmadge are shown on Jan. 2, 2019. Photo by Megan Wood via inewsource

The San Diego Housing Commission will receive 470 federal Emergency Housing Vouchers from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development to help pay rent for San Diegans experiencing homelessness or at risk of becoming homeless, it was announced Wednesday.

“These housing vouchers are going to change the lives of 470 San Diegans and their families,” Mayor Todd Gloria said. “Programs like this will provide safety for some of our most vulnerable and create a level of stability that would otherwise be out of reach.”

The vouchers are among 70,000 nationwide authorized through the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021, which President Joe Biden signed into law on March 11.

“With the new Emergency Housing Vouchers, the San Diego Housing Commission will be able to help additional vulnerable households obtain stable, permanent housing,” said Richard C. Gentry, SDHC’s president and CEO. “New resources like these vouchers are essential to the ongoing, collaborative efforts to address homelessness in the City of San Diego.”

The vouchers are intended to assist San Diegans who are experiencing homelessness, are at risk of experiencing homelessness, are fleeing or attempting to flee domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, stalking or human trafficking, or who recently experienced homelessness and for whom rental assistance will help prevent their homelessness or a high risk of housing instability.

The vouchers awarded to SDHC will take effect July 1, and collectively have an initial annual value of $6,640,992.

They will work similarly to other federal rental assistance programs SDHC administers. Households will pay a predetermined portion of their income toward their rent, and SDHC will pay the balance, up to the applicable “payment standard,” directly to the landlord.

The payment standard is the maximum subsidy payment the voucher would pay for an apartment or rental house minus the portion of the contract rent that the tenant pays. It is based on the number of bedrooms approved for the family’s size and the community to which the family moves.

Households that the vouchers assist will also receive help in their search for housing.

Eligible households will be identified through the Coordinated Entry System, administered by the Regional Task Force on the Homeless, which helps identify the most appropriate housing resource for each individual or family experiencing homelessness, based on their needs.

The voucher program does not allow SDHC to reissue the vouchers to new households after Sept. 30, 2023.

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