The California COVID-19 Rent Relief program, which is administered by the California Housing and Community Development Department, launched on Monday, March 15th. See the County of Santa Cruz press release for additional information. This program can assist tenants who have unpaid rent with up to 1 year of relief, does not jeopardize other federal or state benefits, and will initially prioritize individuals with incomes below 50% of area median income. Both tenants and landlords can apply and the application portal is live. Applicants may apply by visiting HousingIsKey.com. Assistance is also available by calling 1-833-430-2122 between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. daily. Applications and assistance are available in multiple languages.
Applying for Benefits During COVID-19
We understand your medical needs and food assistance is a priority for you and your family. To assist you in applying for public assistance benefits such as CalFresh, Medi-Cal, General Assistance, or CalWORKs, we developed the following guides:
EBSD Guide to Benefits - English (PDF, 459 KB)
EBSD Guide to Benefits - Spanish (PDF, 483 KB)
Out of an abundance of caution, and in response to the recommendations from Public Health Officials to prevent the spread of COVID-19, Santa Cruz County Employment & Benefit Services walk-in customer service centers at 18W. Beach St., Watsonville and 1020 Emeline Ave., Santa Cruz are modifying office operations to limit unnecessary Face-to-Face contact. Customers are being asked to conduct business by phone or electronically when possible.
While visiting our offices, residents will be asked to wear face coverings and maintain physical distancing and should stay home if they have been sick or have a fever. Medical screening may occur at some buildings. Residents should also expect limits on the number of persons in lobbies, protective screens at public counters, additional signage, and other measures to protect the health and safety of residents and staff.
All essential services continue to be provided by phone, online and by mail, while access to the walk-in service centers will be limited, in order to promote social distancing. Nearly all benefit services for Medi-Cal, CalFresh, CalWORKs, General Assistance are available remotely by mail, phone or online through the following access points:
Mysantacruzcounty mobile app
P.O. Box 1320, Santa Cruz CA 95061