On Monday, Los Angeles began accepting applications from residents for $100 million in rent relief from a CARES Act program.
Passed last month by the LA City Council and the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors as the Emergency Rental Assistance Subsidy Program, the funding for accepted applications will go directly landlords to pay around two months of rent on behalf of the residents who have been negatively affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. While the program targets tenants who are earning below 80% of the area median income (AMI), half of the funding would go towards tenants earning below 30% of AMI. In Los Angeles, 80% AMI ranges from $59,450 for a single-person household to $11,250 for an eight-person household.
Individual tenants can receive up to $1,000 while households can receive as much as $2,000. All funds will be paid directly to landlords. If the program funds cover two months rent, any extra can then be applied to a third. It is expected that the program will help out around 50,000 households across the city.
All applications will be checked to make sure they meet the COVID-19 affected requirements to receive the program’s rental assistance, including loss of income due to workplace closure or reduced hours, loss of income or increased child care costs because daycare or schools are closed, medical costs for a resident or a household member who is ill with COVID-19, or loss of income due to government-ordered emergency measures after March 13, 2020.
“This is money for those in real need,” said housing expert Clinton Fielder in an interview with the California Globe. “LA is not giving this money out willy-nilly. They’ll make sure that you truly are affected, that you are below that AMI, and will check how much you are paying in rent.”
“They also aren’t taking any chances, as all money is going right to the landlords. It’s housing, pure and simple. LA is very worried about a huge number of evictions later this year, and this would help those most likely facing that.”
“50,000 households and $100 million sounds like a lot, but it really isn’t. All told, this will only reach a small percentage of Angelinos, and will only help out for a few months.”
“Bottom line is that this is ‘free rent,’ but it’s going to people out of work who may become homeless and could cost landlords even more than they’ve lost already. It really is keeping hundreds of thousands of people’s heads above water for at least a few more months.”
Last month, Los Angeles lawmakers praised the passage of the program, despite its limited scope.
“I am reminded every day during this ongoing pandemic that people, especially those in disenfranchised communities, are struggling,” said LA City Council President Nury Martinez last month. “This program will help tens of thousands of Angelenos, and that’s wonderful.”
Los Angeles residents who meet the 80% AMI criteria can apply for relief at the City of Los Angeles Emergency Renters Assistance Program website or by phone at (844) 944-1868.