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Health, Housing & Community Services Department
Health, Housing & Community Services Department

COVID-19 Housing Retention Grants

Berkeley's Housing Retention Program provides grant assistance to Berkeley residents at risk of eviction.

The program guidelines on this page are specific to the COVID-19 emergency. These criteria will remain in effect for 60 days after the shelter-in-place order is lifted, or longer if deemed necessary by the City of Berkeley.

The maximum grant amount available through this program is $10,000. Some residents may also be eligible for assistance through the ongoing Housing Retention Program operated by the East Bay Community Law Center. Applicants who are eligible for both programs may quality for up to $15,000 total assistance.

See guidelines below and apply by:

  • Calling the Eviction Defense Center (EDC) at (510) 452-4541. Leave a message stating the follow:
    • your name
    • phone number
    • and that you are Berkeley resident seeking assistance

An EDC staff member will return your call as soon as possible to determine your eligibility. EDC is also taking applications for Alameda County's Rental Relief Program, which you can apply for online or by calling EDC.   

Eligibility Requirements

Grants are available to households that meet the eligibility criteria below. Submitting an application does not guarantee financial assistance. Application approval requires that each program requirement be met and supporting verifiable documentation provided.

  • Berkeley residents or Berkeley Shelter Plus Care/Rapid Rehousing tenants who are at imminent risk of losing their permanent housing.

  • Grant must prevent an eviction OR support housing related financial assistance (may include, but is not limited to rent, future rent, utilities and needed health and safety related home repairs that, if left unaddressed, will jeopardize occupancy) due to loss of income during the COVID-19 crisis.

  • Households requesting assistance must have a signed rental agreement or an alternate form of documentation verifying applicant’s tenancy and monthly rent.

  • Households must be at or below 80% of Area Median Income. Income must be verified by documentation from a third party or an affidavit signed by the applicant stating current income during the COVID-19 emergency.

  • Households must meet one or more of the following requirements. Where applicable, households should provide supporting documentation verifying below criteria. During the COVID-19 emergency, acceptable documentation may include an affidavit from the applicant.

  • Decrease in income
  • Unexpected medical and/or disability expenses paid without credit
  • Fleeing domestic violence
  • Work-related vehicle expense (vehicle is required for the job supporting documentation from employer may be required)
  • COVID-19 related financial losses
  • Fell behind on rent for other factors to be approved at the discretion of the fund administrator.

Maximum Amount of Grant

  • Approved households can receive up a one-time grant of up to $10,000 in COVID-19 emergency assistance.

  • Amount requested must be supported by related decrease in income or unexpected verifiable expense, as described in the eligibility requirements above.

Documentation needed for Application

  1. Completed Application

  2. Picture ID or Social Security Card for all household members older than 18.

  3. Verification of Current Income for all income included in the budget sheet.

  4. A dated Notice of Eviction from landlord stating amount owed for back rent OR a letter of verification from landlord stating the amount owed for back rent (requirement waived for COVID-19 related assistance, applicant will provide certification of amount owed if verification from the landlord is not available).  

  5. Rental Agreement or Lease. If applicant is not on the lease, the lease holder must submit a signed dated letter indicating applicant’s portion of the rent and rent due. If Section 8 Housing or Shelter Plus Care, copy of Housing Assistance Payments (HAP) Agreement.

  6. W-9 Form (Tax I.D.) signed by landlord

  7. Proof of Building Ownership is needed if not a BHA property

  8. Documentation showing decrease in income, unexpected medical/disability expense, fleeing domestic violence, or work-related vehicle expense, if applicable. An affidavit signed by the applicant is an acceptable form of documentation during the COVID-19 emergency.

  9. You may be asked to provide additional documentation to support your application for financial assistance.

If you meet the eligibility criteria above and wish to apply for rental assistance, please contact:

Phone: call the Eviction Defense Center (EDC) at (510) 452-4541 and leave a message. In your message, please state your (1) name, (2) phone number, and (3) that you are Berkeley resident seeking assistance. An EDC staff member will return your call as soon as possible to determine your eligibility. Thank you for your patience during this difficult time. 

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Health, Housing & Community Services Department, 2180 Milvia Street, 2nd Floor, Berkeley, CA 94704
Questions or comments? Email: Phone: (510) 981-5400
(510) 981-CITY/2489 or 311 from any landline in Berkeley
TTY: (510) 981-6903