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L.A., through Friday, is taking applications for its $103-million rent relief program

Los Angeles City Council President Nury Martinez
Los Angeles City Council President Nury Martinez helped devise the Emergency Renters Relief Program.
(Francine Orr / Los Angeles Times)

A five-day application period has opened for a city relief program aimed at helping Los Angeles residential tenants struggling with the economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The application process for the Emergency Renters Relief Program will be open for five days, closing at 11:59 p.m. Friday, said Ann Sewill, general manager of the Los Angeles Housing and Community Investment Department, which is administering the program.

Interested renters can apply online. People with limited online access can call the application hotline, at (844) 944-1868, between 8 a.m. and 10 p.m. People with hearing or speech impairments can call (844) 325-1398 during the same hours.

Officials stressed that there was no advantage to early registration.

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All eligible applicants will have an equal chance of being randomly selected once registration ends.

The program is open to all renters, regardless of immigration status.

“We know people throughout the city of Los Angeles need assistance, particularly our working poor and disenfranchised communities, who are hit hardest by both the health and economic impacts of COVID-19,” L.A. City Council President Nury Martinez said.

“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.”

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The program, approved in June, allocates $103 million to provide a rent subsidy for low-income tenants in the city of Los Angeles who are unable to pay rent due to circumstances related to the COVID-19 pandemic. Housing and Community Investment Department officials are calling it the largest coronavirus-related emergency rental assistance program in the nation.

The majority of the funds — $100 million — come from the city’s federal CARES Act stimulus money.

The subsidy is anticipated to assist an estimated 50,000 Los Angeles households. It will provide a grant of up to $1,000 per month, with a maximum grant of $2,000 per household, and will be paid directly to the tenant’s landlord on behalf of the tenant. Eligible tenants are those whose household income is at or below 80% of the area median income.

Nearly 50,000 low-income families in Los Angeles could receive rent relief under a new program approved by the City Council on Tuesday.

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It is anticipated that the number of applications will far exceed available funding. Therefore, all applications submitted during the application period that meet all requirements will be placed in a random selection system.

The program was first proposed by Martinez and Councilmen Herb Wesson and Mitch O’Farrell. It is based on a program created last winter when some tenants allegedly were being “rent-gouged” before a state rent-control law took effect. The reinstated program deals with the pandemic.

“The recovery will be hard enough without people having to worry about how to stay housed and put food on the table while meeting their financial obligations,” O’Farrell said.


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