In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the City of Lancaster will roll out its Emergency Rental Assistance Grant program for Lancaster tenants who are experiencing financial hardship due to COVID-19 and are in need of temporary rental assistance.

Funded through Community Development Block Grant – COVID (CDBG-CV) funds from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), the program was made possible as a result of the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES). The program will offer rental assistance up to $5,000 per household, with hopes of assisting up to 100 local residential households. Grants can be used to pay rental arrears or current/future rent.

“We know that potential eviction is a looming reality for many renters due to the pandemic. This grant is aimed to keep tenants and their families stay housed and healthy. We also know that for the health of the economy, local landlords and property owners need to be able to pay their own mortgages,” said Lancaster Mayor R. Rex Parris. “Over the past few months, the City has made a concerted effort to support our community through these trying times, from offering programs to assist our community’s most vulnerable residents to incentivizing local businesses.”

The grant program includes a four-stage process. First, through Aug. 10, tenants must sign up by completing a pre-screening application online or by phone through L.A. County’s 211 system. Since a high volume of applicants are anticipated, qualified grant recipients will be randomly selected via a lottery system and then notified for next steps.

Applicants must use the 211 system to be entered.The selected tenants and their landlords must provide required documentation, fill out full applications, and agree to the terms of the grant program. Finally, once the paperwork has been successfully completed by the deadline provided, rental assistance will be paid directly to the tenant’s landlord/property manager on the tenant’s behalf.

Tenants may be eligible to apply if they were current on their rent as of March 1; have an active rental/lease agreement in their name; reside within City limits; and can demonstrate financial hardship due to COVID-19. In addition, the household cannot be receiving other government housing assistance and the total household income must be at or below the area’s median income level – contacting 211 will help applicants determine whether they meet these criteria. Tenants may only apply once per household. Landlords and property owners are encouraged to share this information with tenants.

For flyers in both English and Spanish, visit www.cityoflancasterca.org/EmergencyRentalAssistance. To apply, call 2-1-1, Monday – Friday, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. or visit www.211LA.org 24/7 until signups close at 5 p.m. on Aug. 10. For more information, contact the City at 661-723-6211 or COLRentAssist@cityoflancasterca.org.