There are resources for you if your housing situation has been impacted by COVID-19.
On this page:
- Help for people experiencing homelessness
- Help with rent and utilities
- Eviction protection
- Affordable rental housing
- Mortgage forbearance
- Mortgage relief
Help for people experiencing homelessness
If you’re experiencing homelessness or need emergency housing:
- Call 211 to find a local program. It’s free, confidential, and available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
- Reach out to the point of contact for your area.
- Contact your county welfare department to find a program near you.
- Connect to a service provider in your community.
- Check the resources for homeless LGBTQ people in crisis.
- Contact the National Domestic Violence Hotline:
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
Help with rent and utilities
Renters and landlords can get financial help to cover 100% of past-due and future:
- Rent payments
- Utility bills like gas, electric, water, garbage, and internet
Applying for rent and utility relief may:
- Protect you from eviction
- Clear your rental debt (even if you already moved out)
We recommend renters and landlords work together to apply. Either can start the process. Renters must provide some information, regardless of who starts the application. Landlords can get paid quicker if they take part in the program. Learn more about how to apply.Apply for California COVID-19 rent relief
To get help with your application, call the COVID-19 rent and utility relief contact center at 833‑430‑2122. It’s open 7 days a week, 7:00 AM to 7:00 PM Pacific Time.
Details for renters
- Your immigration status does not matter. You are not required to show proof of citizenship to apply.
- Your landlord is notified once you’ve applied for rent relief.
- Your landlord cannot see your application.
- Your information is private and is not shared.
- Your application will be assigned to a case manager. Watch for emails or phone calls from your case manager about your application. Be sure to respond so your application keeps moving.
- Renters with a sublease can apply.
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
Eligibility for LIHEAP depends on:
- Your income
- Where you live
- How many people are in your household
To avoid eviction for unpaid rent, you must apply for rent relief.
- Your landlord must help you apply for rent relief before they can evict you.
- Your landlord cannot evict you if you’ve applied and are waiting to find out if you’re eligible.
If you get a notice from your landlord demanding rent payment, you need to apply for rent relief within 15 days.
Find more information about protection from eviction for unpaid rent due to COVID-19:
- Fact sheet on tenant protection
- Tenant protection guidelines
- Frequently asked questions about the COVID-19 Tenant Relief Act
- California Courts self-help guide for COVID-19 eviction protection
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.
To get help paying past-due rent, apply for rent relief. You can also apply if you need help with upcoming rent payments.
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.
If you’re being evicted and need emergency housing:
- Call 211 to find help in your area.
- Search for resources in your community using the Find Shelter tool.
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.
You may be eligible for affordable rental houses or apartments through public housing. Public housing is available for:
- Families with low-income
- Older adults
- People with disabilities
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.
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.
Under federal law, your mortgage servicer must take certain steps to help you before starting the foreclosure process.
- Learn what to do to avoid foreclosure.
- Find free foreclosure prevention counseling in your area.
- Get information about foreclosure protection and relief from the California Department of Financial Protection and Innovation.
Free housing counseling help
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.
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.
- 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.
- For example, a homeowner needs $30,000 to get caught up on their mortgage.
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:
- 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: