There are resources for you if your housing situation has been impacted by COVID-19.

On this page:

Help for people experiencing homelessness

If you’re experiencing homelessness or need emergency housing:

Temporary housing through Project Roomkey

If you’re experiencing homelessness, you may be able to get a hotel or motel room through Project Roomkey if you:

  • Test positive for COVID-19 and need to isolate
  • Were exposed to COVID-19 and need to quarantine
  • Are at high-risk for COVID-19, like people:
    • Over age 65
    • With underlying health conditions

Call your local point of contact or your county welfare department to find out more.

Help with rent and utilities

The state is no longer accepting applications for COVID-19 rent and utility bill relief. If you applied for rent relief by March 31, 2022, we will review your application. If you’re eligible, you may get financial help to cover unpaid:

  • Rent payments that came due between April 2020 and March 2022 (limited to 18 months total)
  • Utility bills like gas, electric, garbage, and internet

You may also be protected from eviction.

For more information, visit the Housing Is Key website or call 833‑430‑2122. The call center is open Monday through Friday, 7:00 AM to 7:00 PM.

Where payments are sent

If your application is approved, rent payments go to:

  • Your landlord if they take part in the rent relief program
  • You if your landlord does not take part in the program

​​If you receive the rent payment, you must pay your landlord within 15 days.

Utility payments go directly to the utility provider.

More help with utilities

You may be able to get help paying your energy bill from the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance ​Program (LIHEAP). ​​​​

You can get a ​​​​one-time payment to help you:​​​

  • ​Pay your heating or cooling bills, even if you use wood, propane, or oil
  • In an emergency or energy crisis, like a utility disconnection

You may also be eligible for weatherization and energy efficiency services. Examples include:

  • Sealing holes and cracks around doors, windows, and pipes
  • Checking your home’s insulation
  • Repairing or replacing windows and water heaters
  • Checking that your heating and air conditioning systems are running well

Improving your home’s weatherization and energy efficiency can help:

  • Reduce your energy usage
  • Lower your monthly utility bill
  • Address health and safety issues your home

Who qualifies

Eligibility for LIHEAP depends on:

  • Your income
  • Where you live
  • How many people are in your household

Find information about LIHEAP services in your area. You can also call 866-675-6623.

Eviction protection

If you applied for rent relief and you’re eligible, you may be protected from eviction:

  • For unpaid rent that was due between April 2020 and March 2022
  • Through June 30, 2022

Your landlord cannot evict you if you’ve applied and are waiting to find out if you’re eligible.

Some cities and counties have more eviction protections in place.

Learn about eviction protection for unpaid rent during COVID-19

Information about tenant protections:

You can be sued for unpaid rent

If you owe any rent, your landlord can sue you. This is true even if you paid 25% of your rent due between September 2020 and September 2021 to avoid eviction.

Learn about the small claims process for COVID-19 rental debt.

Free legal help and counseling

Several statewide and local organizations offer free or low-cost legal help to renters.

Contact a local agency to get free rental housing counseling.

Emergency housing 

If you’re being evicted and need emergency housing:

Affordable rental housing

You may qualify for affordable rental housing if you have low income.

Privately owned subsidized housing

You may be eligible for reduced rent through subsidized housing. Search for an apartment and apply directly with the property.

Public housing

You may be eligible for affordable rental houses or apartments through public housing. Contact the public housing agency in your area to apply.

Housing choice voucher program (Section 8)

You can find your own place and use a housing voucher to pay for all or part of the rent. Contact the public housing agency in your area to apply.

If you have trouble contacting your local public housing agency, contact a field office for help.

Mortgage forbearance

Most homeowners can pause or reduce their mortgage payments for a limited time if they’re struggling because of COVID-19. This is called forbearance. You request forbearance from your mortgage servicer. Landlords with four properties or less can also request forbearance. 

Learn the steps to pause or reduce your mortgage payments at Help for homeowners.

Avoiding foreclosure

Under federal law, your mortgage servicer must take certain steps to help you before starting the foreclosure process. 

Free housing counseling help

Find an approved housing counselor or call 1-800-569-4287

Free or low-cost legal help

If you believe your lender harmed you by violating the law, you can file a lawsuit against them. You can get free or low-cost legal help from statewide and local organizations.

Mortgage relief

If you’ve fallen behind on your mortgage payments due to COVID-19, you may be able to get help to catch up with them. 

If you qualify, you can get up to $80,000 of your past due payments covered. This money goes directly to your mortgage servicer. You do not have to pay this money back.

Who qualifies

  • Your income is at or below 100% of the Area Median Income (AMI). This includes the income of all people over the age of 18 in your household. Find your AMI threshold.
  • You must:
    • Be at least two payments past due as of December 27, 2021.
    • Currently own and live in the property in California as your primary residence.
    • Only own and live in one property.
    • Attest that you experienced a Qualified Financial Hardship:
      • A temporary or permanent reduction of earned income directly related to COVID-19, or
      • An increase in household living expenses directly related to COVID-19, like:
        • Medical expenses
        • An increase in household size
        • Costs to reconnect utility services
  • The original, unpaid principal balance of your primary mortgage loan must be less than the conforming loan limit in effect at the time your loan was issued. 
  • You cannot have cash or assets equal to or greater than the relief funds needed, plus $20,000. Your retirement savings does not count as cash or assets. 
    • For example, a homeowner needs $30,000 to get caught up on their mortgage.
      • If they have less than $50,000 in assets, they may be eligible. 
      • If they have $50,000 or more in assets, they are not eligible.

Use the application questionnaire to check if you’re eligible. You do not need to provide personal information to complete it. 

How to apply

Complete the application questionnaire to begin the application process. The result will tell you if you may be eligible and can apply.

You’ll need to register for an account to apply.

You may need to provide:

  • Mortgage statements
  • Bank statements
  • Utility bill
  • Income documents, like:
    • Paystubs
    • Tax returns
    • Unemployment insurance documents
  • Other information depending on your circumstances

Visit the California Mortgage Relief Program for more information.

If you have questions, call the Mortgage Relief hotline at 1-888-840-2594

If you need help now, contact: