SERA2 Program FAQs
ELIGIBILITY FOR EMERGENCY RENTAL ASSISTANCE
What are the eligibility requirements for the SERA2 Program?
To qualify for rental assistance, applicants must meet the minimum eligibility criteria below. Application review requires that each program requirement be met and verifiable supporting documentation provided. Submitting an application does not guarantee financial assistance.
To be eligible, renters must:
- Currently rent their home anywhere in the County of Sacramento
- Have household gross annual income at or below the low-income limits shown below
- Have at least one household member that:
- is qualified for unemployment benefits, OR
- has experienced a reduction in household income, incurred significant costs, or has experienced a financial hardship due to COVID-19
- Demonstrate housing instability or a risk of being unhoused
- For information about the SERA1 Program go HERE.
Households that previously applied for and/or received rental assistance through the SERA 1 Program are eligible to apply again.
If you saved or did not submit your application for the SERA 2 program (February 25 – March 19, 2021), you can continue your application and submit.
Households that previously applied for and/or received rental assistance through the SERA Program are eligible to apply again.
Gross Annual Household Low Income Limits:
Are applicants helped on a first-come, first-served basis?
No. After the application deadline, all applications will be put in a computerized random order.
Are people who rent a room eligible to apply?
Yes. If they can provide proof of a lease or rental agreement issued by the property owner for the room.
Are people who own mobile homes, but pay space rent to a landlord eligible to apply?
Yes. If they can provide proof of a lease or rental agreement issued by the property owner.
Will you help me pay my mortgage?
No. SERA2 provides rental assistance only. Please contact your lender directly to discuss payment options.
Are applicants who reside in Public Housing or are a part of Section 8/Housing Choice Vouchers, Permanent Supportive Housing, or Section 811 eligible to apply for SERA2?
Yes, as long as there is no duplication of the assistance currently received (from Section 8 or Public Housing) and they have had a financial impact due to COVID-19.
Can you apply if you do not owe for past due rent?
Yes. The SERA2 Program also provides for assistance with past due utilities (including internet) from April 1, 2020 to current.
What if pre-COVID income was above the low-income limits, but because of extended job loss is now below the low-income limits?
If you are requesting assistance paying rental arrears, your 2020 income is required for verification. If you are looking for assistance with rent for April, May and June 2021, income eligibility is based on your current gross household income.
Can I receive assistance for a previous address that I owe back rent to if I no longer live there?
Yes. The SERA2 Program can provide rental assistance to eligible households that no longer occupy the residential unit where rental arrears were incurred.
If a household has received assistance from another COVID-19 rental assistance program, can they receive help from SERA2 as well?
Yes, as long as there is no duplication of assistance for the same time period covered by the other COVID-19 rental assistance program.
Will any applications be given priority?
Priority will be given to households that owe rental arrears.
Applications will be assisted in this priority order:
Priority Tier 1: Households at or below very low income limits OR Households at or below low income limits where someone in the household has been unemployed for 90 days prior to date of application.
Priority Tier 2: Households at or below low income limits and in a community disproportionately impacted by COVID-19.
Priority Tier 3: Households at or below low income limits and not addressed in Tiers 1 & 2.
What are the very low income limits for Priority Tier 1?
Gross Annual Household Very Low Income Limits:
HOW TO APPLY
When can I apply for the SERA2 Program?
You can apply now! Effective May 11, 2021, the application period has reopened and currently not scheduled to close.
What are the steps to apply?
Step 1: Prior to starting the application process, review all eligibility requirements and required documents at www.shra.org/sera.
Step 2: Register at www.shra.org/sera and complete the application. It is important that you remember your log-in and your password.
Step 3: You will receive email confirmation once your application is successfully submitted.
Step 4: You can check on the status of your application at www.shra.org/sera.
Step 5: Your application and documents will be reviewed. You will be contacted if additional information is required.
If you need assistance with submitting an application for the SERA2 Program, please click HERE for a list of partnering organizations who can assist you in submitting your documents.
What internet browser should I use to submit my application?
For the best user experience, Google Chrome, Microsoft Edge, or Safari web browsers are recommended. If you do not know your browser, go to www.whatismybrowser.com and it will display it for you.
What if I type in www.shra.org/sera and cannot access information on the rental assistance program?
Type in www.shra.org and look at the scrolling banner at the top of the page. When information on the SERA Program scrolls through please click on it.
What should I do if I cannot log in after registering?
- Once you start the registration process you will be asked for an email address. Once entered, you must confirm this email address before you log in and complete your application. Please check your email, and click on the link in the Confirm Registration email message you received to confirm your registered email address.
- If you cannot find the registration email that was sent to you, please check your junk or spam folder. If you still cannot find the registration email, click the Resend Email Confirmation link on the login page.
- If you successfully confirmed your email address, but still cannot log in, select the Forgot your password? link on the login page. An email message will be sent to you with a link to create your new password.
Can I use my phone to apply?
Yes. You can use a mobile device, tablet, laptop, or computer that has internet access.
Do I need an email address to apply?
Yes. An email address is required to apply for this program. Most of our correspondence will be through email.
What if I do not have an email address?
Is the online application available in other languages?
Should I tell my landlord that I am applying?
Yes. Communication with your landlord is important. You will also need to provide your landlord’s name and their phone number, email, or mailing address in your application. Accurate information is critical so we can promptly reach your landlord. The process is likely to go faster if your landlord knows you have applied and is ready to participate in the process.
What should I do if I want to change my submitted application or upload documents I didn’t have when I originally applied?
Log in and select the Edit button to open your application. You can then make changes or upload documents and re-submit your updated application.
What should I do if I have problems submitting my application?
Confirm that you are completing your application in a recommended internet browser (Google Chrome, Microsoft Edge, or Safari). Look for error messages informing you of missing information and make sure you are following these requirements when you upload all required documents:
- Each document must be no larger than 10 megabytes (MB) in size.
- Allowed valid file formats end in file extensions consisting of .PDF, .JPG, .PNG, and .JPEG.
- If you need assistance with submitting an application for the SERA2 Program, please click HERE for a list of partnering organizations who can assist you in submitting your documents.
- Send an email, with screenshots of any error messages you receive if possible, to firstname.lastname@example.org
How often can I apply?
Once per application period. Duplicate applications will be removed. Households that previously applied for and/or received rental assistance through the SERA1 Program last year are eligible to apply again, however it cannot be for payments already made by the program for that time period.
Can landlords also apply on behalf of their tenants?
Yes. Landlords can register their tenants for the program, but tenants will need to provide the necessary documentation.
When will applications be processed?
Applications submitted from February 25 – March 19, 2021 are currently being processed. All applications are placed in a computerized random order for processing, including applications submitted on and after May 11, 2021.
What if I started my application but did not submit it by the February 25 - March 19, 2021 application period deadline?
An application must be submitted to be considered for assistance. The application period has re-opened on May 11, 2021, so you may complete and submit your application now.
What documents will I need to provide in the application?
One form of government-issued photo identification for the person applying, such as:
Other government-issued photo ID
Current utility bills showing amounts owed:
Lease (all pages)
Document received from landlord showing amount owed in arrears:
This could be either a past due notice or a Statement of Rental Arrears
Documentation of all annual gross household income for 2020:
2020 tax return
Benefit letters from SSI, SSA,
Unemployment/EDD Insurance Award Notice
Documentation of all current household income for past 2 months:
Benefit letters from SSI, SSA,
Unemployment/EDD Insurance Award Notice
What assistance will be provided by the SERA2 Program?
1. Rental Arrears
For assistance with rental arrears, landlords will have a choice:
To accept 100 % of an eligible household’s unpaid rental debt accumulated on or after April 1, 2020.
To not accept payment directly from the SERA2 Program. In this case, 100% of the rent arrears from April 1, 2020 will be made payable to the tenant so they can pay the landlord and receive eviction protection until September 30, 2021 as provided in AB832.
2. Utility Arrears
Assistance is also available to cover all past utilities (including internet) from April 1, 2020.
What utilities will be covered by the program?
SMUD, PG&E, water, sewer, and trash paid outside of the lease may be covered. Utilities paid with the rent will be included in the rental assistance disbursement. Internet services may be covered by the program if it is required in the home for distance learning or teleworking.
Who will get the utilities payment?
Utility payments will be issued directly to the utility company. Applicants must agree for the SERA2 Program to share account information on their behalf with the utility companies in order to receive utilities assistance.
When will I hear about the status of my application?
The status of your application will be updated as it moves through the processing steps. Log in to the application portal where you submitted your application to view your status. You will receive emails/phone calls if information is required when staff process your paperwork. You will also receive emails when it moves through the review process.
Will I get notified right away if it is determined that I will not receive the assistance?
The SERA2 Program will make every effort to notify applicants and landlords of their application status throughout the process.
Will payments be made to the tenant or the landlord/property owner?
In most cases, the payment will be made directly to the landlord or property owner. If your landlord does not agree to participate in the program and accept one of the assistance options, payment can be made directly to the tenant to pay their landlord and receive the protection provided in AB3088.
LANDLORDS AND PROPERTY OWNERS
Can I apply for the rental assistance on behalf of my tenant?
Yes. Landlords can register their tenants for the program. The tenant will then be notified to complete their part of the application process.
What are the rental assistance options for landlords/property managers?
For assistance with rental arrears, landlords will have a choice:
- To accept 100% of an eligible household’s unpaid rental debt accumulated on or after April 1, 2020.
- To not accept payment directly from the SERA2 Program and choose to not participate in the SERA2 Program. In this case, 100% of the rent arrears from April 1, 2020 will be made payable to the tenant so they can pay the landlord and receive eviction protection until September 30, 2021 as provided in AB832.
Will my tenant receive the rental assistance?
If a landlord agrees to participate and accepts the rental assistance, funds will be disbursed directly to the landlord. If the landlord chooses not to participate, the determined assistance will be disbursed directly to the tenant.
What is the landlord/property owner self-certification language for SERA2?
Landlords will self-certify to the below language, as well as agree to the terms of the rental assistance option they select, as part of their program participation.
I/We declare under penalty of perjury under the laws of the State of California that the foregoing is true and correct, as of the date of its submission, except those matters that I have indicated that I am informed and believe and upon such information and belief that the matters referenced are also true and correct, under the penalty of perjury under the laws of California. I/We understand that any false, misleading, or missing information will result in denial of this application and may be punishable by the fullest extent of the law. Making a false statement under penalty of perjury is a crime and is punishable as such. All applications are conditional upon final review by the SHRA.
Last updated: 9/1/2021