Costa Mesa has become the latest city in Orange County to launch a rental assistance program to help tenants affected by COVID-19.

The California Apartment Association helped the city of Costa Mesa with the effort, which won City Council approval on Oct. 6.

“I commend Mayor Katrina Foley, Costa Mesa City Council, and Assistant City Manager Susan Price for putting this program together,” said Victor Cao, local vice president of public affairs for CAA. “This is much-needed relief for both tenants and independent rental owners.”

In addition to its work in Costa Mesa, CAA has partnered with Anaheim, Irvine and Santa Ana to offer rental assistance for pandemic-affected renters. To date, over $8.5 million has been approved to assist tenants and landlords in Orange County cities.

The Anaheim and Irvine rental assistance funds are currently closed but may reopen if there are remaining dollars from the last application period.

In Costa Mesa, the rental assistance fund totals $668,000 and comes from the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act of 2020.

The local program will cover up to $6,000 in unpaid rent. Once a tenant is qualified to participate, the rent money will go directly to the landlord.

Administering the program will be two nonprofit groups: Mercy Housing Living Centers and Serving People in Need.

The application for tenants to complete will be linked on the City of Costa Mesa when it’s ready.