By CBSLA Staff

SANTA CLARITA (CBSLA) – Santa Clarita residents struggling to cover their rent because of the COVID-19 pandemic will soon have an opportunity to get some help.

The city of Santa Clarita announced Wednesday that it will launch a $6.3 million rental assistance program beginning April 1.

To qualify, a household must make at or below 80% of the area median income (AMI), which for a family of four for Los Angeles County is $56,300. Priority will be given to those at 50% of the AMI.

If approved, applicants will receive up to four full months of unpaid rent. To apply, click here.

“We know how tough the past year has been on our community,” said Mayor Bill Miranda said in a statement. “For those who have not been able to pay their rent due to impacts of the pandemic, this program will help them get back on their feet, and more importantly, stay in their homes.”

The funding is part of a $2.6 billion statewide rent relief program that provides money from December’s $900 billion Congressional stimulus package. It is designed to cover back unpaid rent for the period between April 1, 2020, and March 31, 2021.

The city of Los Angeles is itself distributing $235 million in rent relief to help about 64,000 families. The application window for its program opens March 30.

L.A. County has been under an eviction moratorium since early March 2020 that will go through at least June 30. Under the moratorium, landlords cannot evict tenants for nonpayment of rent. However, the back-rent will continue to accrue, and once the moratorium is lifted, landlords will be allowed to evict those tenants.

A report in January found that about one-fifth of all Los Angeles County tenants paid rent late at least once during the pandemic.