LOS ANGELES (CN) — The city of Los Angeles announced Wednesday a $100 million uptick to a program that could help tenants pay their rent during the Covid-19 pandemic.
City officials say the program will be rolled out by July 1 and could pay two months of rent for any resident financially impacted by the novel coronavirus.
Initially the city launched its emergency renter relief program last year in response to a housing and rental crisis, but the program received a revitalization this past April in response to the health crisis.
LA received $694 million in federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act dollars.
City officials pooled roughly $3 million from discretionary funds for a rental relief fund, but on Wednesday LA Council President Nury Martinez announced $100 million from the CARES Act would be placed into the fund.
Previous estimates from the city housing department say roughly 74,000 could benefit from the program.
Under LA’s eviction moratorium, tenants do not have to provide proof they cannot pay their rent, but if they want to qualify for the rental assistance program, they will have to provide documents that their economic hardship was caused by the pandemic. And they will need to fall into an income bracket that says they make less than 80% of their area’s median income.
The program is expected to pay up to $1,000 each month of a person’s rent for two months. Any payment assistance would go directly to landlords, according to the city’s proposal.
“This $100 million will be a tremendous help to many, but we need significantly more housing assistance from the federal government if we’re going to keep all Angelenos in their homes after this pandemic ends,” Martinez said in a statement.
According to a 2018 study from Harvard’s Joint Center for Housing Studies, more than one-third of all U.S. households are rent burdened or pay more than 30% of their incomes to housing.
Tenant associations like LA Tenants Union and other advocacy groups have pushed for a rent moratorium and have staged protests outside city hall and Mayor Eric Garcetti’s home.
During California’s current state of emergency, a tenant cannot be evicted from their home for not having paid their rent and all evictions are on hold until 90 days after the end of the emergency.
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