The City of Sonoma has partnered with Friends In Sonoma Helping (F.I.S.H.) to provide rental and utility assistance to residents of Sonoma who lost work due to the Coronavirus pandemic. The funds come from the city’s Housing Trust Fund, which was established one year ago and expanded to include a C-19 response with a May 4th vote.
Already in May, the City and F.I.S.H. distributed over $50,000 in rental assistance, helping 84 people who had been struggling to pay their rent due to loss of income during this crisis. The rental assistance program for F.I.S.H. provides 50% of the rent up to $1,000 as a subsidy. The average contribution is about $700 per approved applicant.
The impact of the global pandemic and the resulting response to slow the spread of the disease has dramatically impacted business and tourism activities in the City. There has been a large increase in layoffs of employees with many businesses unable to operate, and requests for rent and utility assistance have increased dramatically in the community.
The nonprofit F.I.S.H. has a long track record of providing community support through their delivery of food, clothing and medical equipment, transportation to medical appointments, plus utility and rental assistance to Sonoma Valley residents in need. F.I.S.H. staff processes applications and distributes rental and utility assistance to qualifying households.
Those in need of assistance who meet eligibility criteria can apply online through the F.I.S.H. website or call (707) 996-0111. Although F.I.S.H. normally serves only Sonoma Valley residents, through the City’s funding they are providing assistance to low-to-moderate income City of Sonoma residents, or those who live in the Valley but worked for businesses in the City impacted by the pandemic.