Housing and Community Services Department
Housing and Community Services Department

City of Berkeley Housing Retention Program
Frequently Asked Questions

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Application Process 

  •  What is the goal of the Housing Retention Program?

The purpose of the program is to prevent Berkeley residents from being evicted and becoming homeless due to a temporary financial setback that has prevented them from paying rent.  

  • What is the maximum amount of the grant?

An application may be approved for up to $2,000 per household annually.

  • Can a grant be used to pay for first month’s rent, deposit or to pay for utilities?

No, the grant can only be used to pay back rent owed that is causing the eviction.

  • Do I have to be employed to receive a grant? 

No, you do not have to be employed to receive a grant, but your monthly income must be able to pay for your monthly expenses on an ongoing basis.  

  • Is this the same program that was operated by Eden Council for Hope and Opportunity (ECHO)?

The City of Berkeley previously funded a homelessness prevention program provided by ECHO. The Housing Retention Program provides assistance for similar needs (help paying rent owed) but has been redesigned to integrate with services provided by Berkeley community-based agencies.

  • What if I don’t meet Berkeley’s Housing Retention Program eligibility requirements or am not approved for a grant?

There are agencies that provide assistance with paying deposits and back rent to Alameda County residents.  For more information contact Eden Information and Referral at 2-1-1.  2-1-1 is a free, non-emergency, confidential, 3-digit phone number and service that provides easy access to housing, critical health and human services information.  If 2-1-1 is currently unavailable on your phone, call 888-886-9660. 

  • Who can I call to get information about rent increases and the City of Berkeley’s eviction process? 

The City’s Rent Stabilization Board regulates residential rent increases in the City and protects against unlawful rent increases and evictions for qualifying rental units.  The Rent Board can be reached at 981-RENT (981-7368). 

  • I have received a Summons and Complaint for Unlawful Detainer.  Where can I call to get legal assistance to help me from being evicted?

The East Bay Community Law Center’s Housing Program provides eviction defense.  EBCLC provides more than 100 Tenant Workshops each year. EBCLC also directs the Low-Income Eviction Project, providing direct legal assistance at the Alameda County Courthouse two days a week to tenants facing imminent evictions.  Contact 548-4040.

  • How can I get more information about City of Berkeley services (housing and non-housing services)? 

Call 981-CITY (981-2489).


Application Process 


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Housing and Community Services Department, 2180 Milvia Street, 2nd Floor, Berkeley, CA 94704
Questions or comments? Email: HHCS@cityofberkeley.info Phone: (510) 981-5400
(510) 981-CITY/2489 or 311 from any landline in Berkeley
TTY: (510) 981-6903