On Tuesday, the Los Angeles City Council and Los Angeles County Supervisors voted for sweeping approval of a combined $130 million in rent relief and an extension of eviction moratoriums through the end of July.
The LA City Council voted unanimously to use $100 million of CARES Act funding to help tenants and landlords affected negatively by the coronavirus pandemic. The city’s program, first proposed in late May, will be aimed at tenants who are earning below 80% of the area median income (AMI). Half of the funding would specifically go towards tenants earning below 30% of AMI.
If approved, tenants affected by coronavirus and the surrounding economic troubles will receive either $1,000 a month or $2,000 per household and be paid directly to landlords. If that money covers two months rent, then the received funds would be applied to the third month.
“Basically it helps out those most in dire straits, ” said housing expert Clinton Fielder. “And the money would not go directly to residents to be paid at their discretion. It’s simply for housing so they don’t go on the street. It’s a simple relief program helping those affected by COVID-19.”
LA City Council members concurred.
“I am reminded every day during this ongoing pandemic that people, especially those in disenfranchised communities, are struggling,” noted LA City Council President Nury Martinez. “This program will help tens of thousands of Angelenos, and that’s wonderful.”
In addition to the City Council’s actions Tuesday night, the LA County Board of Supervisors also passed a relief measure of $30 million. In a motion co-sponsored by Supervisors Sheila Kuehl and Mark Ridley-Thomas, the $30 million will also be going to those hit hard by the coronavirus, but with no details given on how funding would be decided on and how it would be paid out.
Besides the new funding, Supervisors also voted to extend eviction moratoriums by another month, with county evictions now being halted until August 1st. While statewide eviction moratoriums are currently in place until 90 days after the state of emergency has ended, the decision by the Supervisors was made because of the California Judicial Council currently in talks to remove the statewide eviction moratorium order sometime soon.
The decisions by the City Council and Supervisors were made largely to prevent a large wave of evictions for when the moratorium ends, to provide relief for those currently unable to make payments due to the virus, and to prevent a rise in homelessness in both the city and county.
“Everyone is fearing that LA’s homeless problem will be a lot worse when eviction protection ends,” explained Los Angeles homeless advocate Tracy Kamensky. “The CARES Act gives money to protect those people on the verge of losing everything like that and remaining housed. It’s no fault of their own that this crisis happened, and this is just the city’s, and county’s, way of helping those people who are in this situation through no fault of their own.”
The funds are expected to be distributed and be made available soon.
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