Orange County commissioners to consider second rental assistance program

On Tuesday, Orange County commissioners will discuss the current rental crisis and consider another emergency rental assistance program for those still feeling the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Their first program is set to end at the end of next month. We expect to learn on Tuesday if the eligibility criteria will be different from what the current program requires. Orange County still has about $4.4 million in emergency assistance to help people struggling to pay rent.

Since last year, the county has provided more than $29 million in rental assistance through the emergency rental assistance program which was created by the American Rescue Plan Act in response to the pandemic. The program is set to expire at the end of September, but with the current rent crisis, staff are seeking approval from the board to create a second part to the program. 

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The original program was created specifically for households impacted by COVID-19, such as a lost job or decrease in pay. Eligibility requirements for that stated you must be at least one month behind on rent and the household income didn’t exceed 80-percent of the area median income.

This possible expansion of the program could include different criteria for struggling renters. The county has until Sept. 30 to spend the rest of the $4.4 million to help renters in need.