Rental Assistance

This guide is for San Francisco renters. If you live outside of San Francisco, see the Coronavirus Resource Guide developed by Tenants Together.
Here to Stay

Here to Stay
by Zeph Fishlyn for SFADC 2021

At least $54 million in Emergency Rental Assistance and rent debt relief is coming to San Francisco.

Updated March 15,2021
 
If your landlord is asking for your personal information in order to fill out a rental assistance on your behalf, reach out to a tenant rights counselor before sending them anything! You do not need to share this information with your landlord in order to get rental assistance!
 
San Francisco residents will have access to two different programs: one run by the state and one run by the city. The two programs both use federal ERAP funds, but have different guidelines for who they will prioritize helping and what help they will offer. Tenants are only eligible for a total of 15 months of help through ERAP, but may choose either program or a combination of the two as long as they cover different months. Both programs are available to tenants regardless of immigration status.
 
Talk with a tenant rights group to understand your rights and which program may be best for you.
State Emergency Rental Assistance Program: This program will focus on paying rent debt accumulated April 1, 2020-March 31, 2021. How much help you get depends on whether your landlord cooperates:
  • If your landlord wants to participate, your debt for that period will be completely forgiven (the state will cover 80% of the rent you missed from April 2020-March 2021, and your landlord has to forgive the rest of your debt).
  • If your landlord does not choose to participate in the program, you are only eligible for only 25% of the rent you owe for the same time period, which is enough to avoid eviction, but does not eliminate all your debt.
The state started accepting applications on March 15, 2021. Priority will be given to households below 50% of the Area Median Income or who have a household member who has been unemployed for 3 months or more. Find more information about the state program here.

San Francisco Emergency Rental Assistance Program: The city program is still in development, but will focus more on current and ongoing rent for vulnerable households and will offer a smaller amount of debt relief for past rent owed (though enough to ensure participants can meet their 25% rent obligation under state law). We will update this site as soon as we have more information. We expect this program will be up and running by late April or early May.

Changes in Tenant Counseling

Most organizations have switched to phone counseling or phone check-ins before scheduling 1-on-1 appointments when possible. See the list below for how to access services from Tenant Counseling and Legal Service organizations, and check their websites for the most up to date information.

SAN FRANCISCO RENT BOARD: Phone counseling at (415) 252-4631 Monday-Friday, 9am-12pm and 1pm-4pm. For filing of documents with few pages, including tenant hardship applications, scan and attach your documents in PDF format and send them to: rentboard.311@sfgov.org or by fax to (415) 252-4699. Please indicate your name, phone number, the property address and case number, if any, in the email.

BILL SORRO HOUSING PROGRAM (BiSHoP) For help with affordable housing applications or tenant rights information. Phone counseling only: Please call (415) 513-5177 or email info@bishopsf.org and leave your name, phone number, the reason for your call, and the best time to reach you at and a housing counselor will follow up with you. Languages: English, Tagalog, Spanish, French
 
CAUSA JUSTA::JUST CAUSE (CJJC) Phone counseling only: Leave a voicemail at 415-487-9203 with your name, phone number, and a brief description of your problem.  A counselor will call you back as soon as possible. Languages: Spanish, English
 
CHINATOWN COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT CENTER (CDCC) In-person clinic still available, but please call if possible: 415-984-2730. Leave your name, phone number and a counselor will return your call. Drop-in clinic Mondays from 2-4pm & Thursdays 10:30am-2:30pm, 663 Clay Street San Francisco. Languages: Cantonese, Mandarin, English
 
HOUSING RIGHTS COMMITTEE OF SF (HRCSF) Phone counseling only: call the numbers below and leave a message with your name, number, let us know if you are a HUD tenant or have Section 8 and a brief sentence about your issue: Mission Office (415) 703-8634 (callbacks 1-5pm Mon- Thurs) Languages: English, Spanish, Cantonese and Mandarin Westside Office  – (415) 947-9085 (callbacks 9am-12pm Mon, Wed-Fri; closed Tues) Languages: English, Russian, Cantonese and Mandarin
 
SAN FRANCISCO TENANTS UNION (SFTU) Counseling by phone or email.  Non-members are advised to fill out the form here. Members may use the form or call their members-only phone counseling number. The form will be emailed back to you (usually in less than 10 minutes)– then forward the form to info@sftu.org.  
 
SOUTH OF MARKET COMMUNITY ACTION NETWORK (SOMCAN) Phone counseling only, Monday-Friday, 10AM-6PM by Appointment only. Appointments must be scheduled at least one day in advance. To schedule an appointment, please call or send a text message to (650) 273-6713. Appointments can also be scheduled here or send an email to tenantcounselor@somcan.org. Please leave your name, phone number, and a short message about your situation. Languages: English and Tagalog
 
TENDERLOIN HOUSING CLINIC CEOP PROGRAM Only making in-person appointments after a phone consultation. Leave a voicemail at (415 )775-7110 ext.: 1702 or by sending an email to allyn@thclinic.org. Leave your name, phone number, and a brief description of your issue. Languages: English and Spanish
CENTRAL CITY SRO COLLABORATIVE Central City SRO Collaborative and La Voz Latina are only making in-person appointments after a phone consultation with a staff member.  Call (415) 983-3970 (La Voz) or (415) 775-7110 (CCSROC).  Languages: English and Spanish
 
CHINATOWN SRO COLLABORATIVE In-person clinic still available, but please call if possible: 415-984-2730. Leave your name, phone number and a counselor will return your call. How to See a Counselor: Drop-in clinic Mondays from 2-4pm & Thursdays 10:30am-2:30pm, 663 Clay Street San Francisco Languages: Cantonese, Mandarin, English  
 
MISSION SRO COLLABORATIVE (MSROC) Telephone counseling only: leave a voicemail with your name, phone number, and a brief description of your problem. Someone will call you back as soon as possible. Spanish Hotline: (415) 570-4329 English Hotline: (408)-658-6389 Languages: English and Spanish
EVICTION DEFENSE COLLABORATIVE (EDC) Offices are closed for in-person appointments. If you have received a Summons & Complaint (pictured here) or have been served a notice containing allegations of nuisance, call the legal assistance line as soon as possible: (415) 659-9184 or email: legal@evictiondefense.org. For RADCo (rental assistance), call (415) 470-5211 or email EDCRADCo@evictiondefense.org and leave your: name, number and address. Someone from RADCo will contact you as soon as possible. Languages: English, Spanish, Chinese
 
AAAJ-ASIAN LAW CAUCUS By Appointment Only. If you need legal assistance on a housing issue, please call 415-295-2024 or 415-212-9193. If we miss your call, please leave a voice/text message (Your name, phone number, and briefly describe the housing issue), and we will respond to you as soon as possible. The Housing Rights Program only provides legal assistance to San Francisco tenants. We prioritize cases involving eviction, reasonable accommodation, significant rent increase, landlord harassment, habitability issues, and change in terms of tenancy. We do not provide any services to landlords. Languages: English, Cantonese, Mandarin, and Hindi  
 
LEGAL ASSISTANCE FOR THE ELDERLY Appointments only. If you need legal assistance, please call (415) 538-3333. If you are an existing client, please contact your advocate directly for assistance. If you are a new client, please leave a message and we will return the call as soon as we are able. We are prioritizing the following issues: evictions; notices to cut or terminate benefits; notices terminating rental subsidies; restraining orders to protect seniors. Languages: English, Cantonese, Mandarin, Spanish, Russian
 
OPEN DOOR LEGAL: Free legal representation in civil cases (including family, housing, immigration, and employment law) for residents of Districts 5, 10, or 11. Potential clients can call (415) 735-4124, fill out a screening form at opendoorlegal.org/start or walk into any of our three locations during the weekday hours of 10 AM to 4:00 PM (closed 12-1). Everyone entering our offices must wear a mask and temperatures will be checked. 
Bayview office located at 4634 3rd Street (for residents of zip codes 94107, 94124, 94134)
Excelsior office located at 60 Ocean Avenue (for residents of zip codes 94112, 94132)
Western Addition (temporarily closed) clients can be seen at either of the above office (for residents of zip codes 94117, 94115, 94122, 94102, 94109)
 
TENDERLOIN HOUSING CLINIC (THC) Tenants seeking assistance should contact 415-771-9850 for an intake phone interview to determine whether a THC attorney will represent the tenant.