The Merced County Board of Supervisors unanimously voted Tuesday to approve two resolutions authorizing and directing Merced County Emergency Rental and Utility Assistance Round 1 and 2 funding to the State Department of Housing and Community Development. 

These fully funded federal resources will be administered on behalf of Merced County to residents through the State’s Housing is Key program. 

The program will continue to assist eligible applicants who are at or below 80 percent of area median income who have been impacted by COVID-19. Eligible recipients include: 

• Renter households within Merced County; 

• Those who meet income eligibility determination; 

• Individuals who incurred significant costs, or experienced other financial hardship during or due directly or indirectly to the COVID-19 pandemic, and 

• Those who may be at risk of experiencing homelessness or housing instability from issues such as past-due utilities or past-due rent. 

The State started running the program on Wednesday. Current pre-screened applications already submitted to the Central Valley Opportunity Center will still be processed through Sept.30. As of Wednesday, all new applications for rental and/or utility assistance not already scheduled with CVOC will need to be submitted to the CA COVID-19 Rent Relief Program here: https://housing.ca.gov/covid_rr/index.html (for additional information, including eligibility and application help, you can call the State’s COVID-19 Rent Relief Call Center at 1-833-430-2122). 

The program is being transitioned to the State in an effort to streamline the process and create a single program for County residents.