fbpx Riverside City Council approves rental assistance for seniors
The Votes Are In!
2023 Readers' Choice is back, bigger and better than ever!
View Winners →
Nominate your favorite business!
2024 Readers' Choice is back, bigger and better than ever!
Nominate →
Subscribeto our newsletter to stay informed
  • Enter your phone number to be notified if you win
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

Home / News / Politics / Riverside City Council approves rental assistance for seniors

Riverside City Council approves rental assistance for seniors

by Staff
share with

The Riverside City Council last week approved a pilot program designed to provide financial assistance to elderly residents struggling to pay rent.

The council’s unanimous vote Tuesday to launch the program is an effort to help some of Riverside’s most vulnerable residents who may find themselves at risk of becoming homeless, according to a statement by city spokesman Phil Pitchford.

“The Supplemental Rental Assistance Program for Seniors will provide Riverside residents ages 70 and up with as much as $600 of supplemental rental assistance payments while they wait for a Section 8 voucher to be issued or for an affordable senior housing unit to become available,” Pitchford wrote. Rental assistance payments can continue up to a year.

Funding for the program totaling $900,000 is through the federal American Rescue Plan Act, which initially provided fiscal aid to local governments dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic. 

“Our seniors on fixed incomes are especially vulnerable to the housing crisis in California,” Mayor Patricia Lock Dawson said in a statement. “This program uses federal funds to bring stability to Riverside seniors who have been waiting for a Section 8 voucher.”

The council’s vote followed a report that assessed how many Riverside seniors are homeless or in danger of becoming homeless. According to the county’s 2023 Homeless Point-in-Time Count, 109 homeless seniors between the ages of 55-64 and 46 homeless seniors 65 or older were living in Riverside.

As of mid-February, 1,535 seniors ages 62 years and up living in Riverside were on the county’s waiting list for Section 8 housing, Pitchford reported. Of those housing assistance requesters, 346 were age 70 or older. 

Wait times for Section 8 housing are usually six months to a year, Pitchford said. Seniors who face the greatest risk of becoming homeless live alone and on a fixed income, often with little to no savings. 

Statewide seniors struggle to keep up with rent increases that exceed any raises to their fixed incomes, such as Social Security benefits and Supplemental Security Income.

“The difference between staying housed and becoming homeless can be a few hundred dollars a month for our seniors, and this program is designed to fill that gap,” Mayor Pro Tem Steve Hemenway said in a statement. “This is an opportunity to bring hope to some of our residents who really need it.”

To be eligible for Supplemental Rental Assistance Program for Seniors, seniors must be Riverside residents, must have a household income that does not exceed 50% of area median income, which is $36,250 for a one-person household, and they must pay more than 30% of their income for rent.

Applications from seniors 70 or older with an income at or below 30% of AMI will be prioritized for rental assistance, Pitchford said. If there are funds that have not been spent and there are no applications pending for seniors at or over the age of 70 years old within six months of the program’s launch, people 62 or older on the Section 8 wait list with incomes at or below 50% AMI will be eligible for assistance, with priority for households at or below 30% AMI.

The city’s new rental assistance effort for seniors is separate from another citywide homelessness prevention program funded by the state Homeless Housing, Assistance and Prevention grant program, which can only assist with up to three months of past due rent, Pitchford said.

On Wednesday, Lock Dawson, Los Angeles Mayor Karen Bass and a delegation of mayors from some of the state’s largest cities were in Sacramento to request continued $1 billion funding to try to reduce homelessness.

More from Politics

Skip to content