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New rent, utilities assistance program offers relief for struggling tenants in Sacramento County | Dollars and Sense

The Sacramento Emergency Rental Assistance (SERA2) Program will start taking applications on February 25.

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — A new rent and utilities assistance program will begin accepting applications from Sacramento County renters starting February 25.

"Everybody's out of work because of the COVID-19," said Robert Elkins. one of many Californians who is out of work, fed up, and frustrated with the Employment Development Department (EDD).

"How do these guys in prison get all this money," asked Elkins. "I'm a hard-working tax-payer and I can't get paid."

Along with many other Californians, Elkins is furious that fraudsters are collecting money from the EDD while he can't even pay his rent.

These frustrations are unfortunately in line with many others that Sarah O'Daniel, the deputy executive director of the Sacramento Housing and Redevelopment Agency, hears all the time.

O'Daniel says she has repeatedly heard people tell her they will soon become homeless if they don't have any money to pay for their rental. 

The good news for Sacramento County renters and landlords is that a new program could offer relief for rent and utilities.

RELATED: How to get 100% of rent, utility debt paid off with Stanislaus County's assistance program

Here is what you need to know about the Sacramento Emergency Rental Assistance Program:

When to apply:

Open enrollment will last for three weeks, beginning Thursday, February 25 and will close on Friday, March 19.

How do I qualify?

Among other things:

  • Be currently renting in the city or county of Sacramento
  • Must have experienced job loss or suffered other financial hardship due to COVID-19
  • Fall below certain income limits and
  • Be at risk of experiencing homelessness or housing instability

You can find a full list of requirements and documents you'll need here

Do I have to pay back the money?

"No, they do not have to pay back the money," explained O'Daniel. "This is money that is coming from the federal and state government to really help our families that are in dire need."

The program will hopefully be music to the ears of folks like Robert, who have only dollars and cents in their bank accounts while awaiting EDD benefits.

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