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.
- Find the contact information listed for your area.
- Contact your county welfare department to find a program near you.
- 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
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.
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
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:
- Fact sheet on tenant protection
- Tenant protection guidelines
- Frequently asked questions about the COVID-19 Tenant Relief Act
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 mortgage payments or property taxes due to COVID-19, you may be able to get help to catch up.
If you qualify, you can get up to:
- $80,000 of your past-due mortgage payments covered
- $20,000 of your past-due property tax payments covered
You do not have to pay this money back.
To qualify for mortgage or property tax relief, you must:
- Own and live in a home in California.
- Not own more than one home.
- Meet household income requirements.
- Have experienced a pandemic-related financial hardship. This may be a loss of earned income or an increase in household expenses.
- Other requirements
To qualify for help with mortgage payments, you must also:
- Have missed 2 or more mortgage payments before June 30, 2022, and
- Be currently past due.
To qualify for help with property taxes, you must also:
- Have missed one or more property tax payments before May 31, 2022, and
- Be currently past due.
You may be eligible for help with property taxes even if you:
- Do not have a mortgage, or
- Are caught up on your mortgage payments.
Learn more about who is eligible for relief.
How to apply
To get started, complete the application questionnaire. You do not need to provide personal information to do this. If you get a result that says you may be eligible, you’ll be able to:
- Start your application
- Create an account
Visit the California Mortgage Relief Program for more information and to apply.
If you have questions, call the Mortgage Relief hotline at 1-888-840-2594.
If you need help now, contact: