A house is for rent in Santa Cruz

Rent assistance is available from various government and nonprofit providers in Santa Cruz County. (Kara Meyberg — Santa Cruz Local file)

Last updated: March 22, 2022

Need help paying rent? Santa Cruz County has several programs to help people with lower incomes pay rent. Eligibility rules vary.

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The largest source of rental assistance is California’s Housing Is Key program. Housing Is Key partners with local non-profit organizations to provide assistance for households experiencing COVID-19-related financial hardship. In Santa Cruz County, those organizations are Community Bridges, Community Action Board of Santa Cruz and Families in Transition

The deadline for Housing is Key applications is March 31. Because of a state processing backlog, Santa Cruz County encouraged tenants and landlords to apply before March 31 in anticipation of money after that date.

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Here are rent assistance programs by city and area.

Housing is Key Program

Get help applying by texting “RENT” to 211-211 or call the COVID-19-Related Rent Relief hotline at 831-316-1822. The hotline will require callers to leave a name and number for a return call within 72 hours. Interested households can also call local resource centers for more information: 

In Watsonville call:

The California COVID-19 Rent Relief Program can help cover up to 15 months of owed rent, three months of future rent and 12 months of utilities except water. Additional assistance may be discussed with a case manager.

Eligibility to apply:

People in household 1 2 3 4 5
Income limit $78,050 $89,200 $100,350 $111,500 $120,450
  • Experiencing COVID-19-related financial hardship such as lost work due to COVID, changes to child care due to COVID, indirect financial strains like grocery deliveries or changes in transportation needs.
  • Difficulty paying for rent and/or utilities after April 1, 2020.
  • A two-question eligibility questionnaire is on the Housing is Key website.

Steps to apply:

  • Fill out an application. The documents required to apply are available in English and Spanish.
  • Call 1-833-687-0967 in Santa Cruz County or 1-833-814-1211 in Monterey County to schedule an appointment with a local partner organization.
  • Cooperation between tenants and landlords streamlines the application process.

Watsonville Emergency Rental Assistance Program

The Watsonville Emergency Rental Assistance Program offers direct assistance to qualifying Watsonville residents who are experiencing COVID-related financial hardships. Rent money will be paid directly to the landlord on behalf of the tenant.

 Eligibility to apply:

  • Earn low or moderate income as a Watsonville resident.
  • Rent a housing unit in Watsonville.
  • Reduced income due to COVID-19.

Steps to apply:

City of Watsonville – Attn: Housing Program ERAP
Community Development Dept.
250 Main St., Watsonville, CA 95076

Community Action Board Rental Assistance Program

The Community Action Board of Santa Cruz County Inc. offers a Rental Assistance Program for low-income residents, families with children, temporarily or permanently disabled people and those 60 or older.

 Eligibility to apply:

  • Have a lease or rental agreement in Santa Cruz County.
  • Face eviction with an eviction notice from a landlord.
  • Must have no other available resources.
  • Must meet Fair Market Rent guidelines. 2022 guidelines are:
Efficiency One bedroom Two bedrooms Three bedrooms Four bedrooms
$2,085 $2,385 $3,138 $4,000 $4,458
People in household 1 2 3 4
Income limit

$13,590

$18,310 $23,030 $27,750

To apply:

  • Call 831-763-2147 ext. 210 to schedule an appointment. The Community Action Board offices are at 406 Main St., Suite 221, Watsonville.

Catholic Charities Emergency Food and Shelter Program

Catholic Charities Diocese of Monterey offers emergency rent and utilities assistance to residents of Santa Cruz, Monterey, San Luis Obispo and San Benito counties. Normally, this rental assistance covers one month of rent. However, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Catholic Charities has funding through FEMA that can cover up to three months of rent. This can be retroactively applied to owed rent from Nov. 1, 2021 or later and can be applied to non-consecutive months.

Eligibility to apply:

  • Live in Santa Cruz County.
  • Demonstrating need of rental assistance.

To apply:

  • Contact Laura Espindola at Catholic Charities’ Watsonville office 831-393-3110.
  • Provide current ID (any U.S. or Mexican government-issued ID), a lease or rental agreement and proof of need.

Community Bridges Rent Assistance Program

Community Bridges offers one-time rent assistance of $500 to eligible Santa Cruz County residents. 

Eligibility to apply:

  • Show a picture ID as proof of Santa Cruz County residency.
  • Show proof of financial hardship due to the pandemic.

Priority is given to residents ineligible for unemployment payments and other state or federal assistance. To apply, walk in to any of the Community Bridges centers:

  • La Manzana Community Resources, 521 Main St., Suite Y, Watsonville. Open 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. and 1-4:30 p.m. Monday to Friday. Call 831-724-2997.

Santa Cruz County Project-Based Voucher Program

Santa Cruz County’s Project-Based Voucher Program provides a rental assistance program for specific housing units where tenants can apply to live. The Housing Authority of the County of Santa Cruz offers vouchers for projects in Santa Cruz, Watsonville and Scotts Valley. Many of these projects do not currently have open waitlists, but you can read more about them or sign up for updates on the Housing Authority’s website. Projects with open waitlists as of February 23, 2022 are listed below.

Resetar Project-Based Voucher

The Resetar Project-Based Voucher Program offers 52 studios and one-bedroom units in the Resetar Residential Hotel at 15 W. Lake Ave. in Watsonville. Five of those units are for formerly homeless veterans. Tenants in the program pay no more than 30% of their income on housing. Tenants must receive case management.

Eligibility to apply:

People in household 1 2 3 4 5
Income limit $29,200 $33,400 $37,550 $41,700 $45,050

Waitlist status: 

  • A waitlist was open as of Feb. 23, 2022. A wait time was not estimated.

 Steps to apply:

  • Complete the pre-application form and submit it to the Housing Authority of the County of Santa Cruz (2160 41st Ave., Capitola CA 95010) to join the waitlist.
  • Applicants receive a letter that confirms acceptance to the waitlist. 
  • Call the Housing Authority with questions at 831-454-9455.

Housing Choice Voucher Program (formerly known as Section 8)

The Housing Authority of the County of Santa Cruz’s Housing Choice Voucher Program provides rental assistance to residents of Santa Cruz County. Participants find their own rentals on the private market and find landlords who are willing to accept vouchers.

 Eligibility to apply:

People in household 1 2 3 4 5
Income limit $78,050 $89,200 $100,350 $111,500 $120,450

Waitlist status: 

  • A waitlist was closed as of Feb. 23, 2022. Wait times can take several years, according to the Housing Authority. 

Steps to apply:

Housing is Key Program

Get help applying by texting “RENT” to 211-211 or call the COVID-19-Related Rent Relief hotline at 831-316-1822. The hotline will require callers to leave a name and number for a return call within 72 hours. Interested households can also call local resource centers for more information:

In Santa Cruz call:

The California COVID-19 Rent Relief Program can help cover up to 15 months of owed rent, three months of future rent and 12 months of utilities except water. Additional assistance may be discussed with a case manager.

Eligibility to apply:

People in household 1 2 3 4 5
Income limit $78,050 $89,200 $100,350 $111,500 $120,450
  • Experiencing COVID-19-related financial hardship such as lost work due to COVID, changes to child care due to COVID, indirect financial strains like grocery deliveries or changes in transportation needs.
  • Difficulty paying for rent and/or utilities after April 1, 2020.
  • A two-question eligibility questionnaire is on the Housing is Key website.

Steps to apply:

  • Fill out an application. The documents required to apply are available in English and Spanish.
  • Call 1-833-687-0967 in Santa Cruz County or 1-833-814-1211 in Monterey County to schedule an appointment with a local partner organization.
  • Cooperation between tenants and landlords streamlines the application process.

Community Action Board Rental Assistance Program

The Community Action Board of Santa Cruz County Inc. offers a Rental Assistance Program for low-income residents, families with children, temporarily or permanently disabled people and those 60 or older.

 Eligibility to apply:

  • Have a lease or rental agreement in Santa Cruz County.
  • Face eviction with an eviction notice from a landlord.
  • Must have no other available resources.
  • Must meet Fair Market Rent guidelines. 2022 guidelines are:
Efficiency One bedroom Two bedrooms Three bedrooms Four bedrooms
$2,085 $2,385 $3,138 $4,000 $4,458
People in household 1 2 3 4
Income limit

$13,590

$18,310 $23,030 $27,750

To apply:

  • Call 831-763-2147 ext. 210 to schedule an appointment. The Community Action Board offices are at 406 Main St., Suite 221, Watsonville.

Catholic Charities Emergency Food and Shelter Program

Catholic Charities Diocese of Monterey offers emergency rent and utilities assistance to residents of Santa Cruz, Monterey, San Luis Obispo and San Benito counties. Normally, this rental assistance covers one month of rent. However, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Catholic Charities has funding through FEMA that can cover up to three months of rent. This can be retroactively applied to owed rent from Nov. 1, 2021 or later and can be applied to non-consecutive months.

Eligibility to apply:

  • Live in Santa Cruz County.
  • Demonstrating need of rental assistance.

To apply:

  • Contact Laura Espindola at Catholic Charities’ Watsonville office 831-393-3110.
  • Provide current ID (any U.S. or Mexican government-issued ID), a lease or rental agreement and proof of need.

Community Bridges Rent Assistance Program

Community Bridges offers one-time rent assistance of $500 to eligible Santa Cruz County residents. 

Eligibility to apply:

  • Show a picture ID as proof of Santa Cruz County residency.
  • Show proof of financial hardship due to the pandemic.

Priority is given to residents ineligible for unemployment payments and other state or federal assistance. To apply, walk in to any of the Community Bridges centers:

  • Nueva Vista Community Resources, 711 East Cliff Drive, Santa Cruz. Open 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. and 1-5 p.m. Monday-Wednesday and Friday and 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., 2-5:30 p.m. Thursday. Call 831-423-5747.

Santa Cruz County Project-Based Voucher Program

Santa Cruz County’s Project-Based Voucher Program provides a rental assistance program for specific housing units where tenants can apply to live. The Housing Authority of the County of Santa Cruz offers vouchers for projects in Santa Cruz, Watsonville and Scotts Valley. Many of these projects do not currently have open waitlists, but you can read more about them or sign up for updates on the Housing Authority’s website. Projects with open waitlists as of February 23, 2022 are listed below.

El Centro Project-Based Voucher Program

The El Centro Project-Based Voucher Program offers 45 single-occupancy units in the El Centro Residential Apartments at 1110 Pacific Ave. ​in downtown Santa Cruz. Residents must be 60 or older.

Eligibility to apply:

Waitlist status: 

  • A waitlist was open as of Feb. 23, 2022. An estimated wait time was not provided. 

Steps to apply:

  • To join the waitlist, complete the pre-application form and submit it to the Housing Authority of the County of Santa Cruz at 2160 41st Ave., Capitola.
  • Applicants receive a letter that confirms acceptance to the waitlist.
  • Call the Housing Authority with questions at 831-454-9455.

Housing Choice Voucher Program (formerly known as Section 8)

The Housing Authority of the County of Santa Cruz’s Housing Choice Voucher Program provides rental assistance to residents of Santa Cruz County. Participants find their own rentals on the private market and find landlords who are willing to accept vouchers.

 Eligibility to apply:

People in household 1 2 3 4 5
Income limit $78,050 $89,200 $100,350 $111,500 $120,450

Waitlist status: 

  • A waitlist was closed as of Feb. 23, 2022. Wait times can take several years, according to the Housing Authority. 

Steps to apply:

City of Santa Cruz tenant resources

City of Santa Cruz housing assistance resources

Housing is Key Program

Get help applying by texting “RENT” to 211-211 or call the COVID-19-Related Rent Relief hotline at 831-316-1822. The hotline will require callers to leave a name and number for a return call within 72 hours. Interested households can also call local resource centers for more information:

In the Santa Cruz Mountains call:

The California COVID-19 Rent Relief Program can help cover up to 15 months of owed rent, three months of future rent and 12 months of utilities except water. Additional assistance may be discussed with a case manager.

Eligibility to apply:

People in household 1 2 3 4 5
Income limit $78,050 $89,200 $100,350 $111,500 $120,450
  • Experiencing COVID-19-related financial hardship such as lost work due to COVID, changes to child care due to COVID, indirect financial strains like grocery deliveries or changes in transportation needs.
  • Difficulty paying for rent and/or utilities after April 1, 2020.
  • A two-question eligibility questionnaire is on the Housing is Key website.

Steps to apply:

  • Fill out an application. The documents required to apply are available in English and Spanish.
  • Call 1-833-687-0967 in Santa Cruz County or 1-833-814-1211 in Monterey County to schedule an appointment with a local partner organization.
  • Cooperation between tenants and landlords streamlines the application process.

Valley Churches United

Valley Churches United is a non-profit that offers crisis rent assistance to residents of their service area in dire need of help. This assistance is offered through their food pantry program.

Eligibility to apply:

  • Applicants must have lived in the San Lorenzo Valley, Scotts Valley or Bonny Doon for the past year.
  • Present a current ID.
  • Provide landlord information.

Steps to apply:

  • Visit Valley Churches United’s food pantry 9-11:45 a.m. Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays at 9400 Hwy 9 in Ben Lomond
  • Submit a completed application, supporting documents and a personal statement, which will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis.
  • Call Valley Churches United at 831-336-8258 for more information.

Community Action Board Rental Assistance Program

The Community Action Board of Santa Cruz County Inc. offers a Rental Assistance Program for low-income residents, families with children, temporarily or permanently disabled people and those 60 or older.

 Eligibility to apply:

  • Have a lease or rental agreement in Santa Cruz County.
  • Face eviction with an eviction notice from a landlord.
  • Must have no other available resources.
  • Must meet Fair Market Rent guidelines. 2022 guidelines are:
Efficiency One bedroom Two bedrooms Three bedrooms Four bedrooms
$2,085 $2,385 $3,138 $4,000 $4,458
People in household 1 2 3 4
Income limit

$13,590

$18,310 $23,030 $27,750

To apply:

  • Call 831-763-2147 ext. 210 to schedule an appointment. The Community Action Board offices are at 406 Main St., Suite 221, Watsonville.

Catholic Charities Emergency Food and Shelter Program

Catholic Charities Diocese of Monterey offers emergency rent and utilities assistance to residents of Santa Cruz, Monterey, San Luis Obispo and San Benito counties. Normally, this rental assistance covers one month of rent. However, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Catholic Charities has funding through FEMA that can cover up to three months of rent. This can be retroactively applied to owed rent from Nov. 1, 2021 or later and can be applied to non-consecutive months.

Eligibility to apply:

  • Live in Santa Cruz County.
  • Demonstrating need of rental assistance.

To apply:

  • Contact Laura Espindola at Catholic Charities’ Watsonville office 831-393-3110.
  • Provide current ID (any U.S. or Mexican government-issued ID), a lease or rental agreement and proof of need.

Community Bridges Rent Assistance Program

Community Bridges offers one-time rent assistance of $500 to eligible Santa Cruz County residents. 

Eligibility to apply:

  • Show a picture ID as proof of Santa Cruz County residency.
  • Show proof of financial hardship due to the pandemic.

Priority is given to residents ineligible for unemployment payments and other state or federal assistance. To apply, walk in to any of the Community Bridges centers:

  • Mountain Community Resources, 6134 Highway 9, Felton. Open 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. and 1-4 p.m. Monday to Thursday. Call 831-335-6600.

Housing Choice Voucher Program (formerly known as Section 8)

The Housing Authority of the County of Santa Cruz’s Housing Choice Voucher Program provides rental assistance to residents of Santa Cruz County. Participants find their own rentals on the private market and find landlords who are willing to accept vouchers.

 Eligibility to apply:

People in household 1 2 3 4 5
Income limit $78,050 $89,200 $100,350 $111,500 $120,450

Waitlist status: 

  • A waitlist was closed as of Feb. 23, 2022. Wait times can take several years, according to the Housing Authority. 

Steps to apply:

Housing is Key Program

Get help applying by texting “RENT” to 211-211 or call the COVID-19-Related Rent Relief hotline at 831-316-1822. The hotline will require callers to leave a name and number for a return call within 72 hours. Interested households can also call local resource centers for more information: 

In Live Oak call:

The California COVID-19 Rent Relief Program can help cover up to 15 months of owed rent, three months of future rent and 12 months of utilities except water. Additional assistance may be discussed with a case manager.

Eligibility to apply:

People in household 1 2 3 4 5
Income limit $78,050 $89,200 $100,350 $111,500 $120,450
  • Experiencing COVID-19-related financial hardship such as lost work due to COVID, changes to child care due to COVID, indirect financial strains like grocery deliveries or changes in transportation needs.
  • Difficulty paying for rent and/or utilities after April 1, 2020.
  • A two-question eligibility questionnaire is on the Housing is Key website.

Steps to apply:

  • Fill out an application. The documents required to apply are available in English and Spanish.
  • Call 1-833-687-0967 in Santa Cruz County or 1-833-814-1211 in Monterey County to schedule an appointment with a local partner organization.
  • Cooperation between tenants and landlords streamlines the application process.

Community Action Board Rental Assistance Program

The Community Action Board of Santa Cruz County Inc. offers a Rental Assistance Program for low-income residents, families with children, temporarily or permanently disabled people and those 60 or older.

 Eligibility to apply:

  • Have a lease or rental agreement in Santa Cruz County.
  • Face eviction with an eviction notice from a landlord.
  • Must have no other available resources.
  • Must meet Fair Market Rent guidelines. 2022 guidelines are:
Efficiency One bedroom Two bedrooms Three bedrooms Four bedrooms
$2,085 $2,385 $3,138 $4,000 $4,458
People in household 1 2 3 4
Income limit

$13,590

$18,310 $23,030 $27,750

To apply:

  • Call 831-763-2147 ext. 210 to schedule an appointment. The Community Action Board offices are at 406 Main St., Suite 221, Watsonville.

Catholic Charities Emergency Food and Shelter Program

Catholic Charities Diocese of Monterey offers emergency rent and utilities assistance to residents of Santa Cruz, Monterey, San Luis Obispo and San Benito counties. Normally, this rental assistance covers one month of rent. However, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Catholic Charities has funding through FEMA that can cover up to three months of rent. This can be retroactively applied to owed rent from Nov. 1, 2021 or later and can be applied to non-consecutive months.

Eligibility to apply:

  • Live in Santa Cruz County.
  • Demonstrating need of rental assistance.

To apply:

  • Contact Laura Espindola at Catholic Charities’ Watsonville office 831-393-3110.
  • Provide current ID (any U.S. or Mexican government-issued ID), a lease or rental agreement and proof of need.

Housing Choice Voucher Program (formerly known as Section 8)

The Housing Authority of the County of Santa Cruz’s Housing Choice Voucher Program provides rental assistance to residents of Santa Cruz County. Participants find their own rentals on the private market and find landlords who are willing to accept vouchers.

 Eligibility to apply:

People in household 1 2 3 4 5
Income limit $78,050 $89,200 $100,350 $111,500 $120,450

Waitlist status: 

  • A waitlist was closed as of Feb. 23, 2022. Wait times can take several years, according to the Housing Authority. 

Steps to apply:

Housing is Key Program

Get help applying by texting “RENT” to 211-211 or call the COVID-19-Related Rent Relief hotline at 831-316-1822. The hotline will require callers to leave a name and number for a return call within 72 hours. Interested households can also call local resource centers for more information:

In Capitola call:

The California COVID-19 Rent Relief Program can help cover up to 15 months of owed rent, three months of future rent and 12 months of utilities except water. Additional assistance may be discussed with a case manager.

Eligibility to apply:

People in household 1 2 3 4 5
Income limit $78,050 $89,200 $100,350 $111,500 $120,450
  • Experiencing COVID-19-related financial hardship such as lost work due to COVID, changes to child care due to COVID, indirect financial strains like grocery deliveries or changes in transportation needs.
  • Difficulty paying for rent and/or utilities after April 1, 2020.
  • A two-question eligibility questionnaire is on the Housing is Key website.

Steps to apply:

  • Fill out an application. The documents required to apply are available in English and Spanish.
  • Call 1-833-687-0967 in Santa Cruz County or 1-833-814-1211 in Monterey County to schedule an appointment with a local partner organization.
  • Cooperation between tenants and landlords streamlines the application process.

Community Action Board Rental Assistance Program

The Community Action Board of Santa Cruz County Inc. offers a Rental Assistance Program for low-income residents, families with children, temporarily or permanently disabled people and those 60 or older.

 Eligibility to apply:

  • Have a lease or rental agreement in Santa Cruz County.
  • Face eviction with an eviction notice from a landlord.
  • Must have no other available resources.
  • Must meet Fair Market Rent guidelines. 2022 guidelines are:
Efficiency One bedroom Two bedrooms Three bedrooms Four bedrooms
$2,085 $2,385 $3,138 $4,000 $4,458
People in household 1 2 3 4
Income limit

$13,590

$18,310 $23,030 $27,750

To apply:

  • Call 831-763-2147 ext. 210 to schedule an appointment. The Community Action Board offices are at 406 Main St., Suite 221, Watsonville.

Catholic Charities Emergency Food and Shelter Program

Catholic Charities Diocese of Monterey offers emergency rent and utilities assistance to residents of Santa Cruz, Monterey, San Luis Obispo and San Benito counties. Normally, this rental assistance covers one month of rent. However, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Catholic Charities has funding through FEMA that can cover up to three months of rent. This can be retroactively applied to owed rent from Nov. 1, 2021 or later and can be applied to non-consecutive months.

Eligibility to apply:

  • Live in Santa Cruz County.
  • Demonstrating need of rental assistance.

To apply:

  • Contact Laura Espindola at Catholic Charities’ Watsonville office 831-393-3110.
  • Provide current ID (any U.S. or Mexican government-issued ID), a lease or rental agreement and proof of need.

Community Bridges Rent Assistance Program

Community Bridges offers one-time rent assistance of $500 to eligible Santa Cruz County residents. 

Eligibility to apply:

  • Show a picture ID as proof of Santa Cruz County residency.
  • Show proof of financial hardship due to the pandemic.

Priority is given to residents ineligible for unemployment payments and other state or federal assistance. To apply, walk in to any of the Community Bridges centers:

  • Nueva Vista Community Resources, 711 East Cliff Drive, Santa Cruz. Open 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. and 1-5 p.m. Monday-Wednesday and Friday and 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., 2-5:30 p.m. Thursday. Call 831-423-5747.
  • Live Oak Community Resources, 1740 17​th​ Ave., Live Oak. Open 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. and 1-5 p.m. Monday to Thursday. Call 831-476-7284.

Housing Choice Voucher Program (formerly known as Section 8)

The Housing Authority of the County of Santa Cruz’s Housing Choice Voucher Program provides rental assistance to residents of Santa Cruz County. Participants find their own rentals on the private market and find landlords who are willing to accept vouchers.

 Eligibility to apply:

People in household 1 2 3 4 5
Income limit $78,050 $89,200 $100,350 $111,500 $120,450

Waitlist status: 

  • A waitlist was closed as of Feb. 23, 2022. Wait times can take several years, according to the Housing Authority. 

Steps to apply:

Housing is Key Program

Get help applying by texting “RENT” to 211-211 or call the COVID-19-Related Rent Relief hotline at 831-316-1822. The hotline will require callers to leave a name and number for a return call within 72 hours. Interested households can also call local resource centers for more information:

In the Santa Cruz Mountains call:

In Santa Cruz call:

In Capitola call:

In Live Oak call:

In Watsonville call:

The California COVID-19 Rent Relief Program can help cover up to 15 months of owed rent, three months of future rent and 12 months of utilities except water. Additional assistance may be discussed with a case manager.

Eligibility to apply:

People in household 1 2 3 4 5
Income limit $78,050 $89,200 $100,350 $111,500 $120,450
  • Experiencing COVID-19-related financial hardship such as lost work due to COVID, changes to child care due to COVID, indirect financial strains like grocery deliveries or changes in transportation needs.
  • Difficulty paying for rent and/or utilities after April 1, 2020.
  • A two-question eligibility questionnaire is on the Housing is Key website.

Steps to apply:

  • Fill out an application. The documents required to apply are available in English and Spanish.
  • Call 1-833-687-0967 in Santa Cruz County or 1-833-814-1211 in Monterey County to schedule an appointment with a local partner organization.
  • Cooperation between tenants and landlords streamlines the application process.

Community Bridges Rent Assistance Program

Community Bridges offers one-time rent assistance of $500 to eligible Santa Cruz County residents. 

Eligibility to apply:

  • Show a picture ID as proof of Santa Cruz County residency.
  • Show proof of financial hardship due to the pandemic.

Priority is given to residents ineligible for unemployment payments and other state or federal assistance. To apply, walk in to any of the Community Bridges centers:

  • Nueva Vista Community Resources, 711 East Cliff Drive, Santa Cruz. Open 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. and 1-5 p.m. Monday-Wednesday and Friday and 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., 2-5:30 p.m. Thursday. Call 831-423-5747.
  • Live Oak Community Resources, 1740 17​th​ Avenue, Live Oak. Open 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. and 1-5 p.m. Monday to Thursday. Call 831-476-7284.
  • Mountain Community Resources, 6134 Highway 9, Felton. Open 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. and 1-4 p.m. Monday to Thursday. Call 831-335-6600.
  • La Manzana Community Resources, 521 Main Street, Suite Y, Watsonville. Open 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. and 1-4:30 p.m. Monday to Friday. Call 831-724-2997.

Community Action Board Rental Assistance Program

The Community Action Board of Santa Cruz County Inc. offers a Rental Assistance Program for low-income residents, families with children, temporarily or permanently disabled people and those 60 or older.

 Eligibility to apply:

  • Have a lease or rental agreement in Santa Cruz County.
  • Face eviction with an eviction notice from a landlord.
  • Must have no other available resources.
  • Must meet Fair Market Rent guidelines. 2022 guidelines are:
Efficiency One bedroom Two bedrooms Three bedrooms Four bedrooms
$2,085 $2,385 $3,138 $4,000 $4,458
People in household 1 2 3 4
Income limit

$13,590

$18,310 $23,030 $27,750

To apply:

  • Call 831-763-2147 ext. 210 to schedule an appointment. The Community Action Board offices are at 406 Main St., Suite 221, Watsonville.

Catholic Charities Emergency Food and Shelter Program

Catholic Charities Diocese of Monterey offers emergency rent and utilities assistance to residents of Santa Cruz, Monterey, San Luis Obispo and San Benito counties. Normally, this rental assistance covers one month of rent. However, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Catholic Charities has funding through FEMA that can cover up to three months of rent. This can be retroactively applied to owed rent from Nov. 1, 2021 or later and can be applied to non-consecutive months.

Eligibility to apply:

  • Live in Santa Cruz County.
  • Demonstrating need of rental assistance.

To apply:

  • Contact Laura Espindola at Catholic Charities’ Watsonville office 831-393-3110.
  • Provide current ID (any U.S. or Mexican government-issued ID), a lease or rental agreement and proof of need.

Housing Choice Voucher Program (formerly known as Section 8)

The Housing Authority of the County of Santa Cruz’s Housing Choice Voucher Program provides rental assistance to residents of Santa Cruz County. Participants find their own rentals on the private market and find landlords who are willing to accept vouchers.

 Eligibility to apply:

People in household 1 2 3 4 5
Income limit $78,050 $89,200 $100,350 $111,500 $120,450

Waitlist status: 

  • A waitlist was closed as of Feb. 23, 2022. Wait times can take several years, according to the Housing Authority. 

Steps to apply:

Santa Cruz County Project-Based Voucher Program

Santa Cruz County’s Project-Based Voucher Program provides a rental assistance program for specific housing units where tenants can apply to live. The Housing Authority of the County of Santa Cruz offers vouchers for projects in Santa Cruz, Watsonville and Scotts Valley. Many of these projects do not currently have open waitlists, but you can read more about them or sign up for updates on the Housing Authority’s website.

This resource page is by Graycen Wheeler. Kara Meyberg Guzman contributed to this report.

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