LA rent relief program to begin registration for tenants financially impacted by COVID-19

Los Angeles is accepting applications starting Monday, July 13 for a rent relief program to help tenants affected financially by the coronavirus pandemic.
LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- The City of Los Angeles is accepting applications starting Monday, July 13 for a new rent relief program aimed at helping tenants financially affected by the coronavirus pandemic.

The City Council in June approved the $103 million renters relief program, the largest of its kind in any city in the country.

After a renter's application is approved, the funds will be paid directly to landlords.

The city estimates the program could help 50,000 households through two months of assistance, with up to $2,000 being awarded per home.

"It provides $100 million to help renters stay in their homes and get welcome relief from the financial stress they are experiencing," Mayor Eric Garcetti said.

In addition, a moratorium on evictions is currently in force statewide, but will expire 90 days after Gov. Gavin Newsom declares the end of the COVID-19 emergency, unless earlier repealed by the state's Judicial Council.

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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.

Requirements for eligibility in the L.A. program include: Residency in the city of Los Angeles (regardless of immigration status); households that can provide proof of tenancy; household annual income at or below 80% of area median income prior to the COVID-19 crisis; and households that can prove loss of income due to COVID-19 after March 13, 2020.

Information about how to apply is available at the website for the City of Los Angeles Emergency Renters Assistance Program.

Persons without internet access may call the Application Hotline at 844-944-1868, between 8 a.m. and 10 p.m. from July 13-17. Persons with hearing or speech impairments may call 844-325-1398 during the same hours.

"You live in a multi-family unit, an apartment building or a duplex, and you've either lost income because you've had hours reduced at work, or you've lost your job because of the pandemic, you do qualify for this program," said Nury Martinetz, L.A. City Council president.

The city is also accepting donations for those who wish to help vulnerable renters in Los Angeles.

The application process will be open for five days, starting at 8 a.m. on Monday, July 13 and closing at 11:59 p.m. on July 17, said Ann Sewill, general manager of the Los Angeles Housing and Community Investment Department, which administers the program.

"We know people throughout the city of Los Angeles need assistance, particularly our working poor and disenfranchised communities, who are hit hardest by both the health and economic impacts of COVID-19,'' Council President Nury Martinez said. "Demand will be high and serve as a reminder that the federal government must offer billions more in housing assistance if we are going to help all who need assistance to remain in their homes during and after this pandemic.''

The majority of the funds - $100 million -- come from the city's federal CARES Act stimulus money. The additional $3 million was contributed by individual city council offices.

The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors last month approved a motion to spend up to $30 million in funding that had been earmarked for affordable housing to instead go for rent relief.

City News Service contributed to this report.

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