Help is available now for all Santa Monica residential tenants and landlords who need support in applying for $5.2 billion in rental assistance and $2 billion in utility assistance from the State of California through the CA COVID-19 Rent Relief program (also commonly called “Housing is Key”).
Residents interested in applying can call 311 or email to schedule appointments to get help with barriers to obtaining state rental assistance. Appointments can be in-person, online, or by phone. Help is available with the following issues:

Questions about the application process
Help filling out applications
Assistance tracking completed applications
Access to computers and internet
Help scanning or copying documents
Assistance in languages other than English
Support for tenants and landlords with disabilities
“City staff and community volunteers are here to assist you in accessing state funds for rent and utilities before the funds are depleted,” said Santa Monica Mayor Sue Himmelrich. “If your income was impacted by COVID-19, please consider applying. This program is unique in that it covers a wider range of incomes than other state and federal housing programs.”
Tenants and landlords should apply to the rental assistance program as soon as possible. The statewide eviction moratorium protecting tenants from nonpayment of rent expires on September 30, 2021. More than $10 million in state rental assistance has been distributed to over 650 households in Santa Monica so far. For the latest figures, visit

While the rent relief is targeted toward low-income tenants and their landlords, if tenants have been impacted by COVID-19, have unpaid rent or utilities, or need help with future rent and utilities, they may qualify. The state will calculate an applicant’s income eligibility when the person applies, and will base income eligibility on whether the tenant’s household income meets a specified percentage of the Area Median Income (“AMI”). Applicants will need a proof of ID, income, residence or lease agreement, and a rent ledger (showing how much is owed) to complete the application process.

The City of Santa Monica launched an outreach program in August to ensure equitable access to the state rental funds for the most vulnerable members of our community. The City’s goal is for every tenant and landlord who may be eligible to apply for the state rental funds. The outreach plan includes mailers, flyers, door-hangers, social media, email, and more. Similarly, the application support is targeted toward tenants and landlords who haven’t applied because of disability, or lack of access to technology or internet service.

Santa Monica residents can call 311 or email to schedule an appointment for assistance. Tenants and landlords can also contact the state Housing is Key program directly at or (833) 430-2122.

Submitted by Constance Farrell, Public Information Officer