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Rental assistance in Santa Cruz County.

Find how to get help with paying rent or security deposits from charities and government programs across Santa Cruz County. A number agencies work to end evictions and/or rehouse the homeless. Struggling tenants may be able to get rent help, section 8 HUD vouchers for an affordable apartment or even free legal aid to stop evictions.

Any funds or grants available will be for people faced with a crisis, with priority for single mothers, the elderly or disabled. Applicants also need to meet defined low income and other guidelines, such as need support over the short term only. Most applicants also need to have an eviction notice before receiving emergency emergency rental assistance from any Santa Cruz housing programs.

Temporary rent or security deposit assistance, as well as advice and case management, may be offered to tenants who are faced with an eviction. It also assists residents who think they may struggle again in the future. At the same time that funds may be offered, many non-profits and charities will also ensure families in Santa Cruz County meet with a case manager who may be able to direct individuals to longer term solutions. This type of support will include job training, section 8 housing vouchers, or access to more affordable apartments or homes to rent.

How to get help with rent in Santa Cruz CA and deposits or HUD Section 8 vouchers

The Salvation Army Watsonville and Santa Cruz Corps Community Center – Programs include a homeless shelter for single men and women, supportive housing for women transitioning out of an aftercare program or rehabilitation. There is also help, including rent or free motel vouchers, for single moms and those escaping domestic violence. The address is 214 Union St, Watsonville, CA 95076. Main number (831) 724-3922

  • There is another intake number for the The Salvation Army Santa Cruz Corps Community Center. Immigrants, struggling renters and others can get  social services, case management, shelter, and emergency housing. Main number is (831) 426-8365. This location is 721 Laurel St, Santa Cruz, CA 95060.




Families in Transition Program – Applicants on the verge of homelessness or who are currently homeless can receive supportive services while enrolled in this program. Qualified clients are assisted in finding and renting permanent housing from private landlords on the open market. A Section 8 voucher subsidy or no interest loan may also be provided for 6 to 18 months of housing expenses, including rental costs or utilities.

The subsidy paid out for rent will decrease as the family reduces its debt levels and as they increase their income. The FIT program also provides participants with comprehensive social services and case management as well as full supportive services in an effort to obtain self sufficiency. Call (831) 728-9791

Santa Cruz Housing Authority - The main program is section 8. This is income based homes or apartments for the working poor, disabled or elderly among others. The agency also offers applicants a variety of rental and housing assistance programs for low income households in Santa Cruz County. There are also emergency Section 8 vouchers too. The address is  2160 41st Ave, Capitola, CA 95010, call (831)454-9455. Or more on California section 8 housing applications.

  • Last Month’s Rent Guarantee Program / Security Deposit - If you can afford to pay monthly rent going forward, but do not have sufficient funds to stabilize the situation, then help may be provided. This program may help people pay their last month’s rent, moving costs or the security deposit or other expenses. The Housing Authority of the County of Santa Cruz administers this security deposit program for residents in the County. Telephone (831) 454-9455.

Homeless Services Center -/ Housing Matters – Supports individuals and families who are homeless. It provides coordinated transitional and emergency services which will enable them to achieve self-sufficiency. The phone number is (831) 458-6020. The location is 115B Coral St, Santa Cruz, CA 95060.

St. Vincent De Paul Society Of Santa Cruz - May provide emergency housing and rental assistance to people in need. All financial aid depends on available funding. Location is 210 High Street, Santa Cruz, California 95060, dial (831) 423-0878 or (888) 245-9187.

Santa Cruz Human Services Department - The county has a General Assistance Program. This is a short term loan that can also be used for housing. It is for disabled, senior citizens or unemployed adults who are not currently receiving other government benefits and public aid. Call (831) 454-4165





Continuum of Care and homeless prevention - Several agencies in Santa Cruz County combine resources. They offer cash grants for back rent or energy costs, free motel vouchers, shelter and more. The goal is to stop evictions and rehouse families. More on Santa Cruz County eviction and rehousing assistance.

Valley Churches United Missions offers many programs. There is food, emergency rent or mortgage help, shelter, gasoline, and deposit programs. They provide food to stop hunger and money for rent to stop homelessness. Address is 9430 Love Creek Road, Ben Lomond, California 95005. Dial 831-336-8258.

Senior Citizens Legal Services (call 831-426-8824) and California Rural (dial 831-724-2253) both offer free legal aid. This can be used to stop evictions from landlords or mediate solutions. There is help for immigrants, the elderly, and other low income tenants. Renters can also get help if they are facing housing discrimination or lack of repairs.

Community Action Board runs an emergency housing assistance program. CAB provides people faced with an eviction short term rental assistance. It is offered when a tenant faces homelessness due to one-time cash-flow problems and therefore lacks the funds to pay their most recent, upcoming rent payment.

Low income individuals or families who are vulnerable to eviction from one time challenges from unexpected bills such as a reduction in work hours, a car break down, or a short term medical condition may apply. So the non-profit agency provides help in a crisis, including with security deposits.

The Board may assist a household with emergency rental assistance for about one and a half months upon proof of an impending eviction. Address is 406 Main Street, Suite 207, Watsonville, California 95076. Call(831) 763-2147.

Shelter Project is based at 501 Soquel Ave E, Santa Cruz, CA 95062. They work with partners, such as Community Action. There are loans, grant programs, one time rent help and more. Of course the homeless can get help as well as immigrants or migrant farm workers. Call (831) 457-1741, or more on rent assistance from the Shelter Project.

Catholic Charities Of The Diocese Of Monterey Watsonville Office covers all of Santa Cruz County. Provides resources and services including emergency rent and utility assistance, citizenship and immigration assistance, and more. The charity is at 217 E Lake Avenue, Watsonville, California 95076, phone (831) 393-3110.





Santa Cruz County Veteran Network as well as Housing Matters offer rent, mortgage, and utility help from SSVF as well as HUD VASH. There is also legal aid, rapid rehousing, and moving cost assistance, among many other programs. Veterans and their families can get help. Call 831-295-8166.

Community Bridges Family has different community resource centers and programs, such as Live Oak and Mountain Community. The non-profit provides referrals to housing, government grant money (including for rent or mortgages), employment and more. The address is 519 Main Street, Watsonville, California 95076. For information or intake, dial Phone: 831-688-8840


By Jon McNamara














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