• State Data Overview

    Across California, there is a shortage of rental homes affordable and available to extremely low income households (ELI), whose incomes are at or below the poverty guideline or 30% of their area median income (AMI). Many of these households are severely cost burdened, spending more than half of their income on housing. Severely cost burdened poor households are more likely than other renters to sacrifice other necessities like healthy food and healthcare to pay the rent, and to experience unstable housing situations like evictions.

    Renter households that are extremely low income
    Maximum income for 4-person extremely low income household (state level)
    Shortage of rental homes affordable and available for extremely low income renters
    Annual household income needed to afford a two-bedroom rental home at HUD's Fair Market Rent.
    Percent of extremely low income renter households with severe cost burden
  • State Level Partners

    NLIHC Housing Advocacy Organizer

    Joey Lindstrom

    202.662.1530 x222 | [email protected]

    State Partners

    California Coalition for Rural Housing
    717 K St. Suite 400
    Sacramento, CA 95814-3406
    P 916-443-4448

    Rob Wiener, Executive Director
    [email protected]

    Alicia Sebastian, Director of Housing & Community Development Programs
    [email protected]

    California Housing Partnership
    369 Pine Street, Suite 300
    San Francisco, CA 94104-3327
    P 415-433-6804

    Matt Schwartz, President
    [email protected]

    Housing California
    1107 9th Street, Suite 560
    Sacramento, CA 95814
    P 916-447-0503

    David Zisser, Associate Director
    [email protected]

    Non-Profit Housing Association of Northern California
    369 Pine Street, Suite 350
    San Francisco, CA 94104-3302
    P 415-989-8160

    Amie Fishman, Executive Director
    [email protected]

    Pedro Galvao, Policy Director
    [email protected]

    J.R. Starrett, Director of Advocacy and Community Engagement
    [email protected]

    Southern California Association of NonProfit Housing
    340 E. 2nd Street, Suite 406
    Los Angeles, CA 90012
    P 213-480-1249

    Alan Greenlee, Executive Director
    [email protected]

    Frank Martinez, Policy Director

    [email protected]

    Become an NLIHC State Partner

    NLIHC’s affiliation with our state coalition partners is central to our advocacy efforts. Although our partners' involvement varies, they are all housing and homeless advocacy organizations engaged at the state and federal level. Many are traditional coalitions with a range of members; others are local organizations that serve more informally as NLIHC's point of contact.

    Inquire about becoming a state partner by contacting [email protected]

    Become a Member
  • Housing Trust Fund
    HTF Implementation Information

    NLIHC continues working with leaders in each state and the District of Columbia who will mobilize advocates in support of HTF allocation plans that benefit ELI renters to the greatest extent possible. Please contact the point person coordinating with NLIHC in your state (below) to find out about the public participation process and how you can be involved. Email Joseph Lindstrom with any questions.

    NHTF logo
    Current Year HTF Allocation
    State Designated Entity:

    Acting Deputy Director, Housing Policy Development
    California Department of Housing and Community Development

    Official Directly Involved with HTF Implementation:
  • Resources

    Housing Profiles

    State Housing Profile

    State Housing Profile: California (PDF)

    Congressional District Housing Profile

    Congressional District Profile: California (PDF)

    Research and Data

    National Housing Preservation Database

    The National Housing Preservation Database is an address-level inventory of federally assisted rental housing in the United States.

    Out of Reach: The High Cost of Housing

    Out of Reach documents the gap between renters’ wages and the cost of rental housing. In California and Nationwide

    The Gap: A Shortage of Affordable Rental Homes

    The Gap represents data on the affordable housing supply and housing cost burdens at the national, state, and metropolitan levels. In California and Nationwide

  • Take Action
    Tell Congress to Protect and Expand the National Housing Trust Fund
    Urge Congress to Pass a Budget with Strong Support for Affordable Housing Programs
    Tell Congress that Opportunity Zones Must Benefit Low Income People and Long-Term Residents
  • COVID-19 Resources
    COVID-19 Resources

    NLIHC has estimated a need for no less than $100 billion in emergency rental assistance and broke down the need and cost for each state (download Excel spreadsheet). 

    Many cities and states are establishing rental assistance programs to support individuals and families impacted by COVID-19. This tracker links to news reports of various city, state and philanthropic rental assistance programs that are being established during the pandemic. Check NLIHC's cumulative list of rental assistance.  

    Updated on July 24, 2020.

    AlhambraThe city of Alhambra is offering $596,000 in emergency funding for housing assistance and to supplement a meals program for seniors.
    Coachella ValleyUnited Way of the Desert, in partnership with Lift to Rise, offers $200 emergency cash to those who qualify.
    Palo AltoThe Mountain View City Council voted unanimously Tuesday night to create a $500,000 renter assistance program to stave off evictions amid mounting wage losses and economic hardship caused by the new coronavirus.
    Orange CountyOrange County United Way has established a relief fund to prevent people helped by rapid re-housing and transitional living programs from becoming homeless. It offers $500 to pay rent.
    San PabloThe Housing Successor Agency of the City of San Pablo announced a COVID-19 Housing Assistance Grant Program today that will provide a one-time grant of up to $1,000 per household for residents of the city. The grant can be used to “help pay for rent, mortgage or utility payments during the Contra Costa County Shelter-in-Place caused by the Covid-19 pandemic,” according to the city.
    Santa Clara CountySacred Heart Community Service provided over $11 million in funds for rental assistance to families and individuals at risk of becoming homeless.
    Santa MonicaSanta Monica has establised a COVID-19 Emergency Rental Assistance Program that will give as many as 300 households as much as $5,000 each to pay for up to three months of rent starting in August.
    Long BeachThe Long Beach City Council is considering using federal Community Development Block Grant money, typically reserved for low and moderate income households, to fund a rental assistance program, but it could also use private and philanthropic sources to grow the pool of available money.
    Los AngelesThe Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors unanimously approved a proposal by Supervisors Janice Hahn and Hilda Solis to create an Emergency Rent Assistance Program during the COVID-19 crisis. When it is created, the program could provide up to $1000 per month for three months to renters who have lost income due to the coronavirus pandemic.

    Los AngelesNearly 50,000 Los Angeles families could get help from a $100-million rent relief program passed by the City Council on Tuesday. The money would provide up to $2,000 in rental assistance for low-income households who have lost work, fallen ill or had to assist sick family members during the crisis.
    Marin CountyThe Marin County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday approved doubling the size of an existing safety net COVID-19 Response Fund for immediate rental assistance for the homeless and those facing homelessness.The county and the Marin Community Foundation each contributed $500,000 to the relief fund on March 24. Of the $1 million, $650,000 was allocated for rental assistance between March 31 and June 30. On April 21, the county and the Marin Community Foundation each contributed an additional $500,000 to the COVID-19 Response Fund.
    Napa CountyThe Napa City Council is reallocating approximately $1.4 million from its Housing Division for rental assistance for tenants. About $400,000 of the total will be drawn from an existing program to support low-income first-time homeowners, funded in part by a grant from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. Ferrell received permission from the state and HUD to use a portion of the city’s award from last year for rental assistance instead. The remaining $1 million will come from money the city has collected in loan repayments from earlier low-income homebuyers.
    San DiegoThe San Diego City Council has approved the creation of an emergency rental assistance fund tied to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, although the details are still under consideration.
    RiversideThe Riverside rental assistance program will provide up to three months of financial aid, with no repayment required, benefitting up to 10,000 households.
    Ventura CountyVentura County's Pandemic Rental Assistance program will provide up to two-months rent for Ventura County residents who make less than 80 percent of the area median income to be eligible. Priority will be given to those with an annual household income that is less than 50 percent of the area median income.
    Apple ValleyThe Town of Apple Valley as an entitlement Grantee under the Community Development Block Grants (CDBG) Program, receives an annual allocation from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to use in the implementation of eligible programs. The Town will be using a portion of CDBG entitlement funds to implement an Emergency Rental Assistance (ERA) Program that provides security deposits and short-term rental and/or utility assistance in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The CDBG-ERA funds will be used to facilitate urgent housing assistance to individuals and households experiencing a financial hardship due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
    Corte MaderaThe Corte Madera COVID-19 Housing Assistance Fund was created through a partnership between the Corte Madera Community Foundation and the Town of Corte Madera. This $75,000 fund is intended to assist Corte Madera residents who are currently experiencing a financial hardship due to COVID-19 and the necessary health and safety precautions to comply with shelter-in-place orders issued by the County of Marin and the Governor of the State of California.
    FresnoThe city of Fresno is offering the first wave of $5 million in grants to help people stay in their homes if they’ve been hurt financially by the coronavirus. Co-sponsored by Councilmembers Esmeralda Soria, Miguel Arias and Luis Chavez, the program offers grants of $1,500 to individuals and $3,000 for families.

    The City has launched its Emergency Mortgage Assistance and Emergency Rental Assistance grant programs with funding from the Federal government’s CARES Act. Paramount homeowners or renters who have lost income because of COVID-19 can get one-time grants to help with mortgage or rent payments or utility payments. To qualify you must meet certain income limits.

    The maximum amount of assistance is $1,000 per month for two consecutive months. The grant is paid directly to the mortgage company, landlord, or utility company, and does not need to be paid back.

    Funds are limited. Therefore, a virtual lottery will be conducted on Monday, July 20 at 4:00 p.m. to determine the order that applications will be reviewed. Applications are due at City Hall no later than 5:00 p.m. on Friday, July 17.
    PasadenaThe City of Pasadena’s Housing Department can help. The Emergency Rental Assistance (ERA) Program is available for eligible households financially affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. The ERA can provide grants for up to three (3) months’ worth of past due rent, not to exceed $4,500 total. This program is available to renters residing in Pasadena, who have a current lease, and have notified their landlords of their inability to pay due to the COVID-19 Pandemic.
    Santa ClaraThe City of Santa Clara has launched a program aimed at helping some residents who have fallen behind on rent. Through its Emergency Rental Assistance Program, the city is focused on low-income households at or below 60% of AMI.
    Santa CruzThe Economic Development Department of the City of Santa Cruz is partnering with Community Action Board of Santa Cruz County, Inc. (CAB) to market and administer an Emergency Eviction Prevention Program. The program is funded with HOME funding and CDBG-CV funding. Grant funds may be used to assist with payment of past due rent, incurred on or after April 1st, 2020. A maximum of two month’s assistance is available for those who need it and are eligible with a monthly limit not to exceed $2,500 or a total limit of $5,000 total per household. The

    Across the country, homeless service providers are struggling to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic. In order to follow public health guidelines and help ensure people’s safety, some shelters are being forced to reduce services, restrict admittance, or close entirely. The loss of these critical resources puts people experiencing homelessness at even higher risk of illness. Check NLIHC's cumulative list of shelter closings.

    Below is a list of shelters that have had to majorly alter services or completely close:

    Harbor House, a smaller season shelter in the Thousand Oaks area of Ventura County, closed early on March 13. This was a rotational shelter provided by a coalition of churches in the area that is generally open from December through the end of March. Many of the volunteers who are essential for operating the shelter and meal programs are elders and at higher risk of COVID-19.

    In San Francisco, the city has told shelters to stop admitting new people but has opened a new shelter in an attempt to free up additional space.

    Despite state and federal eviction protections, some California tenants have faced increasingly aggressive eviction tactics over the last month. The state’s judiciary council announced that it is considering rescinding its eviction ban. Advocates continue to urge officials to intervene to prevent hundreds of thousands of California renters from being evicted.

    San Francisco Mayor London Breed extended the city’s eviction moratorium through August 31.

    As its eviction moratorium ends, San Diego County faces a looming eviction crisis. The Legal Aid Society of San Diego warns that the $15.1 million of CARES Act funds that the San Diego City Council allocated to emergency rental assistance in June is insufficient to meet the needs of San Diego’s renters. 

    Approximately 365,000 Los Angeles households could be at risk of eviction if California’s eviction moratorium expires next month. California Supreme Court Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye announced on July 24 that the Council will soon consider rescinding the current tenant protections put in place during the COVID-19 pandemic. The decree could expire as soon as August 14.

    Updated on August 4, 2020.

    San Francisco Mayor London Breed on July 21 announced a plan to fund the Homelessness Recovery Plan to help the city create more housing and shelter for people experiencing homelessness. The investments will make 6,000 additional placements available through Coordinated Entry, including 4,500 placements in Permanent Supportive Housing. The plan will include placements to ensure that residents who have been temporarily residing in hotels during the pandemic are not forced back on the streets.

    The Los Angeles Times reported that the plaintiffs in a lawsuit accusing San Diego officials of failing to adequately protect people experiencing homelessness with disabilities during the pandemic have amended their lawsuit. The lawsuit accuses the city of pushing people experiencing homelessness into the Convention Center shelter instead of hotel rooms. “By expending taxpayer funds on a congregate setting, instead of non-congregate settings, the city knew that it was effectively excluding homeless individuals with disabilities, who rely on the city’s homeless programs, from accessing shelter and services during the COVID-19 pandemic and/or placing them at greater risk of contracting COVID-19,” the amended complaint alleges.

    City Lab examined how residential overcrowding is driving the high rates of COVID-19 among Latinos in San Francisco’s gentrified Mission District.

    According to a new study, tens of thousands of households in Santa Clara County could become homeless in the next if policymakers do not enact robust renter protections.

    Santa Barbara County is shifting its focus from people experiencing homelessness into hotel rooms amid the pandemic to helping them make the transition directly to permanent housing.

    Updated on July 28, 2020.

    The Los Angeles Times reports new state testing guidelines that place people experiencing homelessness into “Tier 2,” second in the line of testing priority, only behind hospital patients with COVID symptoms, healthcare workers, and people with known COVID-positive contacts. 

    The Bakersfield-Kern Regional Homeless Collaborative plan to lease hotel space to temporarily house people experiencing homelessness has been postponed due to negative feedback from both community residents and business owners.

    Updated on July 20, 2020.

    San Francisco Mayor London Breed announced on July 9 that the city will move 200 residents who have been temporarily residing in hotels during the pandemic into long-term homes by the end of the year through a Flexible Housing Subsidy Pool. The “Flex Pool” is a housing strategy that matches people experiencing homelessness to vacant private market apartments and provides supportive services. The first 18 months of Flex Pool operations will be funded through philanthropic dollars.

    The San Francisco Chronicle reported on the rise of homelessness in the Bay Area suburbs over the last several years. The coronavirus pandemic, which is expected to push more people into poverty, will make the homelessness crisis that is already impacting the suburbs more visible.

    The San Francisco Chronicle interviewed an individual who has become recently homeless at age 77, highlighting the dangers facing seniors experiencing homelessness. Bureaucracy is preventing thousands of people experiencing homelessness, particularly the elderly, from accessing hotel rooms during the pandemic. 

    The Alameda County Board of Supervisors voted unanimously on June 30 to enter into a $24.5 million, six-month contract with five hotels to provide temporary shelter to people experiencing homelessness who have tested positive for the coronavirus or have underlying medical conditions. The county’s contract with Day Hotel is one of our four that includes an option for the county to purchase the building in the coming months.

    The San Francisco Chronicle discusses the challenges facing a family of seven that is on the brink of homelessness and trying to survive the economic devastating of the pandemic. Without significant federal intervention, the Bay Area’s already dire homeless crisis will worsen.

    Governor Gavin Newsom announced on June 30 Project Homekey, the next phase of California’s COVID-19 response. Under the $1.3 billion Project Homekey program, counties will partner with the state to acquire and rehabilitate hotels, motels, vacant apartment buildings, and other housing types to housing people experiencing homelessness. 

    Activists in the Bay Area report that many people experiencing homelessness are falling through the cracks in California’s Project Roomkey, forcing local groups to step in and provide shelter where government efforts have fallen short.

    Ventura County’s 211 hotline has seen an increase in calls for housing assistance and from people who report being at-risk of homelessness during the pandemic. Even before COVID-19, demand for affordable homes and housing assistance far exceeded the county’s supply. 

    According to officials, El Dorado County has housed approximately 40 people experiencing homelessness in two hotels under Project Roomkey. The program is set to run through July, but there is a chance that it could be extended through August. A member of the county’s COVID-19 homeless community response team said that the county’s experience with Project Roomkey will help it develop a more comprehensive strategy to end homelessness.

    The Californian examined how the coronavirus pandemic has exacerbated the housing challenges of low-income families in Salinas.

    After reporting nine cases of COVID-19 on June 27, the Modesto Gospel Mission reported on July 3 that the outbreak among their residents and staff members has reached 22 cases. According to the executive director, 18 residents and four staff members have tested positive.

    Updated on July 13, 2020.

    Governor Gavin Newsom announced on June 30 Project Homekey, the next phase of California’s COVID-19 response. Under the $1.3 billion Project Homekey program, counties will partner with the state to acquire and rehabilitate hotels, motels, vacant apartment buildings, and other housing types to housing people experiencing homelessness.

    Activists in the Bay Area report that many people experiencing homelessness are falling through the cracks in California’s Project Roomkey, forcing local groups to step in and provide shelter where government efforts have fallen short.

    After reporting nine cases of COVID-19 on June 27, the Modesto Gospel Mission reported on July 3 that the outbreak among their residents and staff members has reached 22 cases. According to the executive director, 18 residents and four staff members have tested positive.

    Governor Gavin Newsom announced at a press conference on June 30 that California has acquired 15,679 hotel and motel rooms and moved approximately 14,200 people experiencing homelessness into the rooms.

    California legislators are working to push through a wide range of bills aimed at addressing homelessness and housing insecurity. For example, Assembly Bill 3269 would mandate state and local governments to develop plans to reduce homelessness by 90% within eight years. However, the state budget, which has been significantly impacted by the pandemic, will be the biggest barrier to passing legislation that would address homelessness.

    While it’s unclear whether pandemic-related releases from state prisons have exacerbated California’s homeless crisis, El Dorado County District Attorney Vern Pierson warns that it’s only a matter of time until this occurs.

    Updated on July 7, 2020.

    The Mercury News discusses how the coronavirus pandemic could exacerbate Black Californians’ housing crisis. Black households are disproportionately more likely to be cost burdened, and tenants’ rights groups fear that a wave of evictions is on the horizon.

    Updated on June 29, 2020.

    The Los Angeles Times reports that some landlords are still trying to evict tenants by cutting off their utilities, locking them out of their homes, and deploying other illegal tactics.

    Housing advocates are concerned that without rent relief, Oakland will experience a post-pandemic homelessness boom after the eviction moratorium expires on August 31.

    The Santa Barbara City Council unanimously approved a plan to allocate 70% of its CARES Act funding for emergency rental assistance and 30% to provide social services. The city plans to distribute the funds through a community organization.

    A federal judge approved an agreement in which the city and county of Los Angeles will provide housing for nearly 7,000 people experiencing homelessness who live near freeways and those over 65 or vulnerable to the coronavirus. Los Angeles County will spend $300 million over five years to provide services, and the city will provide 6,000 new beds within ten months and an additional 700 beds over 18 months.

    The city of Santa Rosa’s plans to remove up to 60 people living in encampments on underpasses of Highway 101 will begin only after Sonoma County health officials conduct coronavirus testing after the virus recently infiltrated the encampments.

    The National Health Foundation is partnering with Project Roomkey to provide temporary housing and support services to people experiencing homelessness who suffer from medical conditions. The residents receive medical care, medications, meals, and case management to help them find permanent housing.

    A makeshift trailer park to provide shelter to seniors experiencing homelessness in San Jose is being dismantled just one month after being opened. A San Jose Housing Department official said that accessibility issues and recurring sewage and electrical emergencies made the project difficult, and that the city decided that housing elderly adults experiencing homelessness in hotels was a better option.

    Contra Costa County officials hope that several of the six hotels and motels the county has leased to provide temporary shelter to people experiencing homelessness will eventually be purchased for permanent housing. While it would be more efficient to purchase existing buildings for permanent housing rather than construct new facilities, an official said that there is no funding mechanism for purchases of the lease sites.

    The San Diego Housing Authority unanimously voted on June 16 to approve the San Diego Housing Commission’s fiscal year 2021 budget, which includes $19 million to purchase hotels and $10 million to house people experiencing homelessness in those properties.

    San Francisco reached a deal with the group of Tenderloin residents and business owners that sued the city in federal court last month. The settlement requires San Francisco to remove 70% of the tents crowding Tenderloin’s sidewalks in just over a month and to provide temporary housing to the people residing in the tents in vacant hotel rooms or sanctioned encampments. 

    Homeful Foundation, a nonprofit organization, is partnering with the Pfizer Foundation and the state of California to provide RV trailers for families experiencing homelessness in three counties throughout California.

    Updated on June 22, 2020.

    California’s Department of Housing and Community Development released Notices of Funding Availability for $61 million in federal CARES Act funding through the Emergency Solutions Grants program and the Community Development Block Grant program.

    The Alameda County Board of Supervisors unanimously approved spending $23.3 million in state and federal COVID-19 funding to purchase Oakland’s former Lake Merritt Lodge to transform it into a shelter for medically vulnerable people experiencing homelessness. Local advocates are devising strategies for turning COVID-19 emergency measures into programs that help people experiencing homelessness beyond the pandemic. 

    LAist discusses advocates’ concerns about what will happen to the 9,400 people experiencing homeless who are temporarily residing in hotel rooms acquired as part of Project Roomkey after the hotel contracts expire. 

    Nevada County’s housing resource manager said that the county has placed more than 60 people experiencing homelessness in local motels since March 18, using funds from pre-existing programs and California’s Project Roomkey initiative.

    The Gospel Center Rescue Mission has quickly transformed a home in Stockton that was originally purchased as additional housing for people experiencing homelessness into an eight-bed, temporary facility for men experiencing homelessness who have tested positive for the coronavirus.

    The North Westwood Neighborhood Council urged the city and state to increase efforts to shelter people experiencing homelessness in hotels and motels. The council believes that Project Roomkey is moving too slowly, and that Los Angeles should take steps to expedite the room-securing process.

    Updated on June 12, 2020.

    An op-ed in the San Francisco Chronicle discusses that while the coronavirus does not discriminate against who it infects, our social structures do. The authors argue that providing shelter in vacant hotel rooms is the most effective way to meet the needs of people experiencing homelessness.

    Governor Gavin Newsom is proposing that state environmental regulations should be waived for cities and counties that want to convert hotels into housing for people experiencing homelessness using federal funding.

    The heatwave sweeping across the Bay Area during the middle of the coronavirus pandemic places seniors and people experiencing homelessness at higher risk of illness. Advocates are urging the city and county to use vacant hotel rooms to shelter seniors and people experiencing homelessness.

    The Los Angeles Times editorial board outlined seven steps that California can take to prevent a coronavirus-related housing and homelessness disaster. The article discussed solutions such as emergency rental assistance and purchasing hotels and motels for permanent housing.

    Approximately half of the 15,000 hotel and motel rooms that California has leased are occupied. The occupied rooms account for less than 5% of the 151,000 people experiencing homelessness across shelter. As of May 18, 7,919 hotel rooms were occupied and another 7,700 were vacant. 

    California counties are facing barriers to housing people experiencing homelessness in hotels across the state. Acquiring rooms, negotiating leases, managing local protests, and getting adequate staffing are some of the concerns expressed by local officials.

    Dozens of community members protested on May 16 outside of a Motel 6 in Rosemead, which will soon provide shelters to people experiencing homelessness during the pandemic. The protesters expressed concerns about how the hotel program, which is part of California’s Project Roomkey, might negatively impact on the community.

    Governor Gavin Newsom released his revised budget proposal on May 14. While the new budget eliminates the ambitious $750 million state fund for housing and homeless services, Governor Newsom intends to use $750 million in federal funds to buy the hotels and motels across the state.

    The California Rental Housing Association is urging cities and counties to dedicate millions of dollars in federal grants to rental assistance. The association, composed of more than 20,000 rental housing owners, has proposed a statewide rental assistance program, which could provide up to three months of assistance to renters experiencing financial loss due to COVID-19.

    A hotel in downtown Los Angeles has been converted into a 460-room temporary homeless shelter. The Salvation Army will provide mental health and substance abuse services at the hotel, and the program will be open for 90 days.

    Marin County legislators have expressed frustration that the Newsom administration has not moved quickly enough to share federal coronavirus relief funds with smaller counties and cities. The CARES Act allocated $9.8 billion directly to California, and jurisdictions with more than $500,000 residents received approximately $5.8 billion. Jurisdictions with smaller populations, like Marin County, are still waiting on California to allocate a portion of its federal funds.

    An article in the Los Angeles Times examines the logistical challenges of testing people experiencing homelessness in Los Angeles County.

    There has been a significant increase in deaths of people experiencing homelessness in Orange County, with deaths in April reaching their highest level in at least five years. Health officials state that they are unsure how many people experiencing homelessness have been tested for the coronavirus.

    Nearly two months after San Jose received more than 100 trailers from the state to provide housing for people experiencing homelessness, the city is expected to use some of the trailers. The San Jose City Council unanimously approved the allocation of nearly $730,000 to operate 90 trailers.

    San Francisco Mayor London Breed faces growing criticism from city officials and advocates for not doing enough to move people experiencing homelessness into hotel rooms. While more than 1,000 people have been moved into hotel rooms, approximately 1,700 hotel rooms remain vacant.

    Landlords in the Bay Area are still starting the eviction process and threatening to remove tenants despite California’s eviction moratorium. After a tenant who lost their job as an on-site property manager was threatened with eviction, the city of Alameda issued a press statement reiterating that state and local laws prohibit evictions during COVID-19.

    San Jose City Council Members Sylvia Arenas and Maya Esparza discussed the need for a COVID-19 recovery that centers the needs of the most marginalized people in our communities.

    Tenant and landlord groups across the Bay Area are urging federal and state officials to provide billions of dollars in rental assistance to prevent a wave of evictions and widespread housing insecurity. Amie Fishman, executive director of the Non-Profit Housing Association of Northern California, an NLIHC state partner, highlighted the need for a bold federal aid package to address the needs of low-income tenants and future housing development. 

    Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti announced that over the weekend, LA County officials have acquired an additional 505 motel rooms for people experiencing homelessness, bringing the total number of rooms to 2,711.

    Homeless activists in Los Angeles are urging Mayor Eric Garcetti to use his emergency powers to commandeer hotels and motels to provide much needed shelter for people experiencing homelessness amid the pandemic.

    An editorial in the Los Angeles Times discussed the “appalling” nature of NIMBYism against housing for people experiencing homelessness, especially during a pandemic. Some cities, including Lawndale and Covina, have protested decisions to provide shelter for people experiencing homelessness in local hotels.

    San Francisco officials announced that the city has acquired more than 120 recreational vehicles and trailers to shelter people experiencing homelessness during COVID-19. Of the 120 trailers, 91 were provided by the Governor’s Office of Emergency Services and 29 were leased by the city.

    The city of Encinitas entered into an agreement on March 20 with a local nonprofit to house up to 80 households experiencing homelessness in motels. When the first batch of vouchers neared the expiration dates and California released a more detailed list of hotel room eligibility, the Encinitas City Council announced that it would only fund voucher extensions for up to 22 households until May 15. Many individuals experiencing homelessness in the city have already returned to their prior living situations or will soon, increasing their vulnerability to the coronavirus.

    San Francisco’s largest homeless shelter, Multi-Service Center South, experienced one of the city’s largest outbreaks. The shelter opened again last week after the city shut down the facility to clean and moved its residents to private hotel rooms.

    A resident of an Oakland homeless encampment has tested positive for COVID-19. Health officials are rushing to test and isolate the individual’s contacts to prevent an outbreak.

    Los Angeles County Supervisors Mark Ridley-Thomas and Janice Hahn co-authored a motion to expand the county’s efforts to house seniors experiencing homelessness in vacant hotel and motel rooms. Ridley-Thomas and Hahn have expressed the urgent need to create a sustainable crisis response that addresses the needs of people experiencing homelessness after the acute crisis is over.

    California jails and prisons are releasing thousands of people who were incarcerated for non-violent offenses to reduce crowding and stem the spread of COVID-19; however, activists and service providers report that many of the people recently released from Bay Area jails are ending up in encampments, shelters, or sleeping in their cars.

    Remezcla spoke with Oscar Cruz, the chief operating officer of United Way of Los Angeles, to learn more about how the coronavirus pandemic is impacting people experiencing homelessness in Los Angeles County.

    Two people experiencing homelessness who were sheltering at the San Diego Convention Center have tested positive for COVID-19. Both individuals will be kept off-site until it is safe for them to return to the shelter or be released to a permanent housing solution.

    The Los Angeles Times examined how the coronavirus may impact California’s plan to address the housing crisis: density.

    U.S. District Judge David O. Carter overruled cities’ objections to Governor Gavin Newsom’s emergency order to house people experiencing homelessness at local hotels. Several cities, including Bell Gardens and Lawndale, made efforts to prevent local hotels from contracting with Los Angeles County as part of Project Roomkey.

    The Pathways/STAIR Center, a Berkeley homeless shelter, has been shut down temporarily after one of its residents tested positive for COVID-19. Most of the residents were moved to an Oakland hotel that is part of Project Roomkey.

    People experiencing homelessness who have not tested positive for COVID-19 and do not have symptoms will have access to a new isolation site at a LaQuinta Inn in Berkeley. This hotel would be the third known site for people experiencing homelessness in Alameda County.

    Health officials announced that 43 residents and staff of the Union Rescue Mission, a homeless shelter in Los Angeles, have tested positive for COVID-19. More than 200 tests were administered at the shelter within the past week.

    Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti announced that the city will deploy medical street teams and set up trailers to protect people experiencing homelessness during the coronavirus pandemic. Street teams will conduct rapid-result COVID-19 testing, health screenings, and provide access to shelters or other temporary housing. The Los Angeles Fire Department will also open a pop-up testing clinic in Skid Row.

    San Francisco Mayor London N. Breed announced on April 22 that the first round of funding from the Give2SF COVID-19 Response and Recovery Fund has been allocated. The Give2SF will provide access to housing and food security for San Franciscans, with a focus on supporting undocumented residents, seniors, and people with disabilities.

    Chico’s recently appointed Homeless Solutions Coordinator, Joy Amaro, reported that 88 people experiencing homelessness are currently being housed in hotel and motel rooms. According to documents sent to the Chico City Council, Amaro is exploring additional solutions for providing shelter to people experiencing homelessness during COVID-19, including “safe parking zones.”

    East Bay service providers are scrambling to avoid a repeat of what happened in San Francisco last week, where officials were unable to avoid an outbreak of COVID-19 from occurring at one the city’s largest homeless shelters.

    None of the 93 homeless people who tested positive for the coronavirus in San Francisco’s largest shelter showed serious symptoms of the disease, lending urgency to the need for widespread public testing and emphasizing the importance of “contact investigations” the city is now ramping up.

    Governor Gavin Newsom provided an update on Project Roomkey, a program to house people experiencing homelessness during the pandemic. He announced that California has acquired 10,974 hotel rooms and 5,025 motel rooms. Motel 6 is providing rooms for people experiencing homelessness at 47 locations in 19 counties in California. He said that more than 4,000 sheltered and unsheltered people have been moved into motel rooms thus far.

    Governor Newsom charged some municipalities of resisting the conversion of hotels and motels into emergency housing. He accused certain cities of allowing NIMBY politics to interfere with a public health imperative.

    After a COVID-19 outbreak at San Francisco’s largest homeless shelter infected at least 105 people as of last Friday, the city is shifting its approach to addressing homelessness during the pandemic. San Francisco’s city council unanimously passed an emergency ordinance mandating the city to acquire 8,250 hotel rooms for homeless people by April 26.

    Although President Trump quickly granted California Governor Gavin Newsom’s request for a major disaster declaration on Monday, the Administration left out a large amount of individual aid programs.

    The COVID-19 pandemic is expected to worsen California’s already extreme shortage of affordable housing.

    CalMatters took a look at the five biggest housing-related challenges for the state during the pandemic.

    California Governor Gavin Newsom announced a statewide eviction ban for renters affected by the COVID-19 crisis.

    Homeless service providers and government officials are scrambling to house the homeless as the COVID-19 pandemic worsens in the state.

    An increasing number of food service centers in California that many homeless residents depend on have shut down.

    Los Angeles

    More than 150,000 people applied for the Los Angeles COVID-19 rent assistance program on July 13. The $103 million rent relief program is only anticipated to assist approximately 50,000 applicants.

    Updated on July 20, 2020.

    The Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority released its full COVID-19 Recovery Plan for people experiencing homelessness on June 23. The plan outlines an ambitious goal to rapidly move 15,000 high-risk people experiencing homelessness into permanent housing, including the 4,000 people who were provided temporary shelter through Project Roomkey. The program will cost $800 million, which includes approximately $600 million in new funding over the next three years and $200 million in costs that were already budgeted in the homeless service system. 

    The Los Angeles Times reports that Los Angeles County’s plan to lease hotel and motel rooms for 15,000 people experiencing homelessness is falling short of its goal. Officials have secured only 3,601 rooms - a fourth of the number needed to shelter all those who are eligible. 

    The Los Angeles City Council on June 23 approved a $100 million rent relief program, The program, funded through California’s allocation of federal CARES Act dollars, is expected to help nearly 50,000 families who have been impacted by COVID-19.

    An editorial in the Los Angeles Times argues that while Los Angeles County’s $100 million rental assistance fund is an important first step, state legislators should take action on a proposed statewide rent relief plan and Congress must invest significant resources to ensure that the pandemic’s economic fallout does not devastate landlords, renters, and the housing market. 

    Updated on June 29, 2020.

    The number of people experiencing homelessness across Los Angeles County increased 12.7% over the past year to more than 66,400, and there is significant concern that the figure will rise again due to COVID-19.

    The Apartment Association of Greater Los Angeles filed a federal lawsuit against the city on June 11, arguing that the city’s efforts to prevent evictions for tenants who cannot pay rent due to the pandemic violate landlords’ Fifth Amendment rights against government taking of their property without compensation. 

    An article in the Los Angeles Times discusses how the curfews put in place due to the protests over police brutality have created additional challenges for people experiencing homelessness in Los Angeles. Although Los Angeles County’s notice exempted people experiencing homelessness from the curfew, alerts about the curfews provided contradictory and confusing information.

    new report released by the UCLA Luskin Center warns that evictions and homelessness will rise precipitously once COVID-19 protections are lifted. The study estimates that at least 365,000 households in Los Angeles are likely to be unable to pay their rent due to loss of income and no access to income assistance like unemployment insurance.

    Updated on June 12, 2020.

    The interim director of the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority told county officials that they hope to place all individuals in COVID-19-related programs into permanent housing by April 2022. Service providers plan to increase their capacity to identify housing units and fill the rooms within seven days of acquiring them. 

    Los Angeles announced the country’s largest COVID-19-related rental assistance program, which is estimated to help up to 80,000 families. City Council President Nury Martinez proposed that $100 million of the $700 million allocated to Los Angeles in the CARES Act be allocated to the renter’s relief fund. Those who qualify could potentially receive $1,000 per month for up to two months.

    The Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority discussed short-, medium-, and long-term strategies to rapidly move 15,000 people experiencing homelessness into housing. The LA Rehousing Recovery Strategy will involve a large-scale effort to acquire and lease properties, and it will rely on emergency local, state, and federal investments.

    More than 300 people experiencing homelessness were moved into an undisclosed hotel in downtown Los Angeles as part of Project Roomkey. The Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority hopes that Project Roomkey is a launching pad to provide services and permanent affordable housing.

    The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors authorized the Los Angeles County Development Authority to use Community Development Block Grant funds to create and administer the COVID-19 Emergency Rental Assistance Program.

    Los Angeles advocates and Mayor Eric Garcetti are objecting to US District Judge David O. Carter’s order to move thousands of people experiencing homelessness living near freeways, overpasses, and off-ramps. Mayor Garcetti and others are concerned that the order could result in people experiencing homelessness being moved, but not into shelters or housing. 

    A federal judge issued a preliminary injunction on May 15 requiring the city of Los Angeles and LA County to provide shelter for an estimated 6,000 to 7,000 people experiencing homelessness camping near freeway ramps and under overpasses. U.S. District Court Judge David O. Carter gave officials until May 22 to develop a plan for providing humane housing for thousands of people experiencing homelessness living near freeways.

    Orange County is currently converting a disused juvenile detention center to host beds for homeless individuals that are experiencing the symptoms of COVID-19.

    high-end L.A. hotel is now the home for homeless fleeing COVID. The city hopes to secure 15,000 hotel rooms for the city’s homeless population.


    Sacramento County has converted three motels into temporary shelters for people experiencing homelessness without completing the typical process of seeking public input and City Council approvals. While the leases for the three motels do not contain purchase agreements, local officials are working on a plan to provide permanent housing for the individuals staying in motels after the pandemic passes.

    In Sacramento, the state’s stay at home order has been in place for two weeks, but no new shelter beds have been created. As a result, individuals experiencing homelessness are resorting to living in vacant homes. Sacramento police removed three homeless adults from a vacant home they resided in, citing them for trespass.

    San Francisco

    The San Francisco Board of Supervisors passed a COVID-19-related eviction ban on June 9. The legislation, which passed 10-1, will permanently bar landlords from evicting tenants if they cannot pay rent due to pandemic-related issues. NextCity also reported on San Francisco’s legislation.

    Hundreds of people experiencing homelessness in San Francisco received COVID-19 testing this weekend as part of the University of California, San Francisco’s widespread testing effort.

    Updated on June 12, 2020.

    Business Insider explored San Francisco’s temporary sanctioned tent encampments. San Francisco city supervisors, homeless advocates, and service providers have criticized Mayor London Breed’s refusal to acquire more than 8,000 hotel rooms to protect people experiencing homelessness.

    As of last week, only 1,011 of 2,768 - or approximately 37% - of vacant hotel rooms in San Francisco acquired through Project Roomkey were occupied, putting the city far behind other California counties. San Francisco disputed these statistics, saying that they have filled at least 47% of the rooms, including “vulnerable populations” in addition to people experiencing homelessness in their counts.

    While San Francisco has swept homeless encampments for years, the city is now establishing city-sanctioned open-air encampments. San Francisco launched the first of five “Safe Sleeping Sites,” with the hope that people experiencing homelessness can practice social distancing in a controlled site and have access to shelters and foods.

    Bay Area authorities are working to quickly get individuals experiencing homelessness off the street – moving some 2,000 people in its shelters to new locations throughout the city. 

    The San Francisco Department of Homelessness and Supportive Housing advised homeless shelters in the city to not accept new residents. It additionally sent out instructions for social distancing, but told providers not to implement them until notified by the agency.

    San Francisco is reporting its first case of COVID-19 at a homeless shelter. The individual is in isolation at a hotel room. The city is encouraging homeless residents to pitch tents for protection.

    The City of Laguna Woods is “deeply concerned” with Orange County’s decision to place COVID-19 positive individuals inside a hotel in that city.

    The COVID-19 pandemic is rapidly increasing California’s efforts to house individuals experiencing homelessness. California has procured 7,000 hotel rooms to temporarily house individuals with COVID-19, COVID-19 symptoms, or are uniquely vulnerable to the disease.

    Thousands of individuals experiencing homelessness in San Francisco remain on the street – despite thousands of hotel rooms remaining empty. Inaction early on in the crisis and political disagreements threaten to stall efforts to house the entire population – not just the lucky few.

    The number of coronavirus infections at a single San Francisco homeless shelter went from five to 70 in three days. The outbreak, which included two staff members, is the largest reported at a single shelter in the United States.  

    In San Francisco, doctors face difficult choices as the number of homeless individuals with COVID increases. It is difficult to release homeless patients from the hospital to anywhere other than the streets: shelters stopped admitting new people over well-founded concerns about the risk of a Covid-19 outbreak among residents, eliminating precious shelter beds in a city with only 1,200 of them to serve 7,600 homeless adults.

    Santa Fe

    The City of Santa Fey will be using city and county funds to rent hotel rooms for some of the most at-risk members of its homeless population.

    Santa Rosa

    Santa Rosa will open its first-ever city-sanctioned homeless encampment to protect people experiencing homelessness during the pandemic. The new sanctioned site will be able to accommodate up to 140 people.

    San Diego

    San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer announced that a recently renovated Super 8 motel will serve as temporary housing for families experiencing homelessness who have been impacted by the pandemic. The motel is making available 42 units, a fitness room, laundry facilities, and a shared kitchen and communal spaces.


    Several weeks after Oakland opened 67 trailers on a vacant lot to house people experiencing homelessness, some residents are complaining of water, electrical, and safety issues that have sent two people to the hospital. Eighty-four people have moved into the shelters so far. An Oakland spokesperson said that the city and service providers are working on fixing these maintenance issues.

    San Francisco Department of Public Health

    The State of California has published their recommended protocol and strategic approaches for COVID-19 response for individuals experiencing homelessness.

    The San Francisco Street Sheet released 7 steps they are urging the city to do to address the needs of homeless people and those at risk of becoming homeless as a result of COVID-19. The steps aim to slow the spread of COVID-19 among unhoused populations. 

    The San Francisco Department of Public Health has provided interim guidance for medical providers caring for people who use drugs (PWUD) and need to be quarantined. The guide provides general recommendations as well as specific recommendations for various drug types.

    Alameda County has released both COVID-19 street outreach and homeless shelter health guidance for the area. Vast resources for both are listed.

    San José shared steps the city has taken to mitigate the impact COVID-19 could have on homeless individuals and families. The City is looking to expand temporary shelter capacity, increase the amount of hygiene equipment, and more. 

    Nevada County's Homeless Plan follows the guidance provided by the local, State and Federal government as pertains to COVID-19 and Homelessness. As that guidance changes and the situation evolve, the plan will be updated as resources allow.

    Long Beach

    Long Beach will begin accepting applications for its $5 million rental assistance program on July 13. The Long Beach Emergency Rental Assistance (LB CARES) program is funded through federal Community Development Block Grants.

    Updated on June 29, 2020.

    Federal, state, and local eviction moratoriums are rapidly expiring and the CARES Act supplemental unemployment benefits will end soon; at that time, millions of low-income renters will be at risk of losing their homes. The NLIHC estimates at least $100 billion in emergency rental assistance is needed to keep low-income renters stably housed during and after the pandemic. This tracker links to news reports of the growing evictions crisis in various cities and states. Check NLIHC's cumulative list of eviction updates.

    The only uniform statewide protection against evictions comes from the California Judicial Council, which has frozen all eviction proceedings since April 6. Evictions can still be filed, but no hearings are taking place and no judgments being issued (except for in emergency cases). The Chief Justice originally stated these protections would extend until 90 days after the state of emergency is lifted. Though the state of emergency is still in place, the Chief Justice announced on July 24 that the council will vote on whether to lift these protections soon, potentially allowing for eviction proceedings to begin as early August 14. Chief Justice's original reasoning for their intervention was to give the Governor and state legislature time to come up with their own policies. In June, she had announced that the council would consider repealing its order but rescinded the proposal to give the governor and legislature more time.  Though legislation regarding a statewide eviction moratorium has been proposed, none have been agreed upon. In response to the Governor's executive order, about one-third of local governments in California have issued some sort of eviction protections, most of which require proof of COVID-19 related hardship. Many have expired. 

    Updated: August 1

    In the third week of July, 29.5% of adults in California reported they had missed their previous housing payment or had little confidence they would make their next one on time, according to a weekly survey conducted by the Census. In the same survey, 1,554,278 renters reported they had not paid their previous rental payment

    The Judicial Council of California was the only entity to provide statewide protections against evictions, halting them unilaterally since April. But on July 24, the Supreme Court Chief Justice announced they would soon vote on whether to continue the order, potentially lifting it as early as August 14

    LA County

    Over 200,000 households in LA County applied for a rental assistance program intended to serve 50,000. 

    July 24


    Housing advocates in Oakland estimate 10,000-20,000 residents are currently at risk of eviction due to COVID-19.  

    July 22

    Santa Clara County 43,000+ households in Santa Clara County are at risk of eviction, which is sixteen times more than the county sees in a typical year. Those at risk are disproportionately people of color, women, and families with children--many at risk of eviction are low-wage workers who are employed by the wealthy tech giants that give Silicon Valley its name.  July 25

    Updated: July 29

    Thousands of California families are doubling up. And if they aren't able to stay where they are, they’re going to be forced out onto the streets. According to a weekly survey by the Census, 27% of adults in the state either missed their last housing payment or have little/no confidence of being able to make next month’s housing payment.

    LA County

    A recent UCLA study found that about 365,000 renter households in the county are in imminent danger of eviction once the Judicial Council moratorium on eviction filings is lifted. The study also found that 120,000 of those households would likely become homeless soon after eviction. 

    June 24


    Landlords are using intimidation and lockouts to attempt to illegally evict tenants. 

    June 29

    Updated: July 16

    COVID-19 Resources Other

    New State and Local Resources

    Los Angeles County Department of Public Health

    National Media

    What to Know About Housing and Rent During the COVID-19 Emergency?

    Arbor Realty Trust launched an innovative $2 million rental assistance program to help thousands of tenants and families significantly impacted by the COVID-19 outbreak. Arbor is contributing $1 million to the program and participating borrowers will match Arbor's advances to its tenants in need to help fill the rent gap during the hard-hit months of May and June. Together, the partnership program will provide $2 million in relief.