Next week, the City of Irvine will launch a new program to provide assistance to renters facing financial impacts from the COVID-19 pandemic.

The $17.7-million program, which is funded through state and local sources, will provide grants to cover unpaid rent during the period between April 1, 2020 and March 31, 2021.  Eligible households will be able to secure up to 80 percent of unpaid rent if landlords agree to forgive the remaining 20 percent owed.

In cases where landlords will not participate, the program will pay 25 percent of unpaid rent - an amount set through the statewide legislation SB 91.

Eligible applicants for the rental assistance program must:

  • earn 80 percent or less than the Orange County area median income, with priority given to households earning below 50 percent of the area median income;
  • be residential renters in the City of Irvine;
  • have a current and valid lease or proof or rent payment history;
  • be able to demonstrate financial hardship as a direct result of the COVID-19 pandemic; and
  • not have received other rental assistance from any other governmental agency, including Section 8 vouchers. However, renters who have received grant assistance through the Irvine's previous rental assistance program are eligible to apply.

“I continue to hear from our community about the hardships they face with job loss and financial strains,” said Irvine Mayor Farrah N. Khan in a news release. “It is vital that we help keep our residents in their homes. The rental assistance program will help us achieve this goal by providing relief for those who have been adversely affected by the pandemic.”  

View of Irvine, CaliforniaWikimedia Commons

The City of Irvine has partnered with the non-profit organization Orange County United Way, which will be administering the program. The application period for rental assistance will open on Monday, March 8 at 8:00 am and close on Friday, March 19 at 5:00 pm.

“The financial effects of COVID-19 have been felt across our community, and especially for many residential renters who may be struggling to make ends meet and to pay their monthly rent,” said Orange County United Way chief executive officer Susan B. Parks in a prepared statement. “We are honored to partner with the City of Irvine for their Emergency Rental Assistance Program and to provide critically needed support for their most impacted residents."

This program will only be available residential renters, and is not open to commercial, industrial, or other types of business-related tenants.

Following the closure of the application period, grant recipients will be selected via lottery on or around March 22.  Rental assistance funds will be paid directly to landlords and tenants selected through the lottery. 

For additional information, please visit In addition to English, program information is available in Chinese, Korean, Spanish, Vietnamese, and Farsi.