Coronavirus: Demonstrators in Los Angeles demand officials cancel rent

LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- Fears of an impending eviction crisis sparked a caravan of protesters to slow traffic and stage a demonstration on the front steps of Los Angeles City Hall on Monday.

About three dozen demonstrators formed a motorcade, moving from Chinatown to City Hall. The protest was organized by the Chinatown Community for Equitable Development. The group is demanding the City cancel rent and mortgages during the pandemic to prevent a wave of evictions.

"The city would rather do these lotteries to provide money to tenants," said Kris Chan of the CCED. Chan said the CCED excludes too many people.

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Although renters in Los Angeles and the county have been able to take advantage of COVID-19 rent and eviction protections, the rent payments that have been skipped are just deferred.

The City of Los Angeles gives tenants up to a year after the state of emergency to pay back all the rent, but CCED members say many of those people won't have the funds to do that.

"What we're calling for is to cancel this rent debt, cancel rent in general, and by extension cancel mortgages so that nobody has to worry about this payment that could essentially mean they would lose their home," Chan told Eyewitness News.

Los Angeles County is rolling out its own COVID-19 rent relief program that slated to start next week. It will provide $100 million in aid to as many as 9,000 low-income renters. But those funds will not be available to renters who live within Los Angeles city limits.

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Gov. Gavin Newsom extended an authorization allowing local governments to delay evictions through the end of September for renters impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

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