CARES Rental Assistance Program

CARES Act Rental Assistance Program for Unincorporated Areas

Help for past due rent and utilities


A collaboration of the County of Santa Cruz, Families in Transition and CAB of Santa Cruz County, Inc.

As directed by the Board of Supervisors, the County has allocated a portion of its Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act funds to provide housing stabilization assistance to residents of unincorporated Santa Cruz County who have lost income due to the COVID-19 pandemic and whose housing is at risk because they are in arears for rent and/or utility payments.
Emergency rental assistance is limited to income eligible residents in the unincorporated areas of  Santa Cruz County (residents of the cities of Scotts Valley, Santa Cruz, Capitola and Watsonville are NOT eligible for this assistance) whose annual income is under 80% percent of the area median income (AMI). Assistance is limited to applicants who have lost or experienced a reduction in employment or income either permanently or temporarily due to the COVID-19 pandemic and who are in arrears for rent and/or utility payments, with a maximum per household based on need and availability of funds.

The County anticipates that there will be two application deadlines with recipients selected through a list prioritized by a random drawing.  The deadline to apply for the first random drawing is September 15, 2020. Households selected for assistance will need to provide proof of residence in the unincorporated area of Santa Cruz County, COVID-19 financial impacts, past due rent and/or utility payments and have a lease or rental agreement with their landlord. Approved assistance will be provided directly to the utility company or landlord, and the landlord must sign rental agreement and stop eviction forms. 


Physical Application

Applications can be picked up and dropped off to the FIT/CAB drop boxes, during the following hours:
Monday – Friday
9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.

Families In Transition (F.I.T.)
903 Pacific Avenue
Suite 304
Santa Cruz, CA. 95060

Community Action Board of Santa Cruz County, Inc. (C.A.B.)
406 Main Street
Suite 223
Watsonville, CA. 95076

Application By Phone

Those without internet access of ability to obtain a physical application may call the CARES program during the following hours: 
8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.

(831) 316-9877 

Application In Person

Non-profit organization COPA is available to assist with in person applications during the following hours: 
Wednesdays & Fridays: 10 a.m. – 1 p.m.
Sundays: 11 a.m. – 2 p.m. 

Holy Cross Food Pantry
126 High St.,
Santa Cruz, CA. 95060