LA's second COVID-19 renters relief program opens to the public

Starting Tuesday, Los Angeles renters can apply for up to $10,000 in rent relief through the city's $259 million COVID-19 Emergency Rental Assistance Program.

Mayor Eric Garcetti and members of the City Council announced on March 23 that Los Angeles' $259 million COVID-19 Emergency Renters Relief Program would open to the public starting March 30.

The City Council voted unanimously on March 2 to approve using federal and state government funding for the second round of the city's rent relief program, which will help about 64,000 families with rental assistance, with $235 million earmarked for direct rent assistance and $3 million for eviction defense.

Garcetti, along with Council President Nury Martinez and council members Nithya Raman, Mike Bonin and Mitch O'Farrell, are scheduled to hold a news conference at 9 a.m. at City Hall to publicize the program's launch date.

RELATED: L.A. County Supervisors expand rent relief program, extend eviction moratorium

"Last year when we received CARES Act funding, this council took quick action to establish programs that would provide direct assistance. We did this because we knew keeping a roof over Angelenos' heads was the best way to help them through this pandemic,"  Martinez said earlier this month.

"This renters assistance program is not only a lifeline to families that are rent-burdened and living paycheck to paycheck, but it is also critical for mom-and-pop landlords who have been struggling over the last year."

The first round of assistance provided 49,133 rent subsidies totaling $98.26 million, to help households that could not pay their rents due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The second round will focus on paying off households' past rent, with a maximum grant of $10,000.

(Mary Stringini / FOX 11)

"The city's unemployment continues to be over 10% and families in our city owe anywhere between $4,000 to $7,000 worth of back rent,'' Martinez said on March 2. "We all know that it is significantly cheaper to keep families housed than it is to build new housing."

The funding is available for people who live in Los Angeles who have been impacted by the pandemic and/or have been unemployed for 90 or more days.

They also must have a combined household income at or below 50% of the area median income, which is $39,450 per year for a single-person household, but priority will be given to renters at or below 30% of the area median income, which is $23,700 per year for a single-person household.

Renters who wish to apply for the program have two options:

  • Cooperation between the tenant and landlord to participate in theprogram, in which case the landlord will be reimbursed 80% of the eligible renters' unpaid rent accrued between April 1, 2020 and March 31, 2021. Under this cooperation, the landlord must waive the remaining 20% of unpaid rent; or
  •  If the landlord declines to participate, the renter will receive 25% of the unpaid rent accrued between April 1, 2020 and March 31, 2021, in addition to financial assistance to pay 25% of up to three months' future rent from April to June 2021.

People can apply for the program at between Tuesday and April 30.

More information and help with the program is available through the Emergency Rental Assistance Program hotline, which is open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. every day, at 833-373-0587.

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