Up to 50,000 households can be helped for two months 

In an effort to address the mounting financial insecurity among families during the pandemic, the City of Los Angeles has unveiled a new $103 million rent relief program to help lower income renters stay in their homes, the City of LA Housing and Community Investment Department (HDICLA) announced on Wednesday, July 8.

The Emergency Renters Assistance Program was created to offer rent relief for eligible renters in Los Angeles with up to $2,000 in subsidies per household for two months ($1,000 each month that will be paid directly to the landlords).

If the landlords accept the funds, they are agreeing to: drop charge interest or late fees that the tenant owed, not evict the tenant for six months after whenever the city emergency order expires and not enact rent increases for a year after the order expires.

According to the City Council, the Emergency Renters Assistance Program will serve about 50,000 households.

“We know people throughout the city of Los Angeles need assistance, particular our working poor and disenfranchised communities who are hit hardest by both the health and economic impacts of COVID-19,” said LA City Council President Nury Martinez, who created the program along with the HDICLA.

According to Martinez, the program is being funded from the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act and has been described as the biggest citywide rent assistance program in the United States during this pandemic.

The program is open to all renters in the city of LA in multifamily units who make 80% or less than the average median income — $58,450 for a single individual or $83,500 for a family of four.

Applicants will also have to prove that the COVID-19 crisis has resulted in financial hardship due to a number of factors, like income lost due to reduced hours or workplaces being shut down, medical costs associated with sickness related to the COVID-19 virus, increased child care costs due to school closures. Applicants must also demonstrate that their income loss was a result of the emergency measures put forth by the government on March 13, 2020.

Undocumented individuals and families may also apply for the program with assurance that it won’t be used against them; immigration status won’t factor into the program’s eligibility, Martinez said in a news release.

The application period — which begins Monday, July 13 to Friday, July 17 between 8 a.m. and 11:59 p.m. each day — is not first-come-first-served and residents who may be qualified can begin the application process by visiting https://hcidla.lacity.org or calling (844) 944-1868 during the application period.

Because the city expects demand for the program will overwhelmingly eclipse supply, applicants will be chosen at random from a pool and those who were not selected this time around will be placed on a waiting list if more funding becomes available.

“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,” Martinez added. (Klarize Medenilla/AJPress)

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