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L.A. City Council Passes Motion to Fund Second Round of COVID-19 Rental Assistance

Apartments in Los Angeles
Apartments in Los Angeles. | Flick/U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development/Creative Commons/Public Domain
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LOS ANGELES (CNS) - The Los Angeles City Council voted unanimously today to approve funding from the federal and state governments for a second round of the city's COVID-19 Emergency Renters Relief Program, which will help about 64,000 families with rental assistance.

Of the $259 million that will be received from the state and federal government's relief programs, $235 million will be used for direct rent assistance and $3 million will be used for eviction defense.

The motion will go to Mayor Eric Garcetti for final approval.

"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," said Council President Nury Martinez, who introduced the motion.

"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.

"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.

"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 the city of 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, but priority will be given to renters at or below 30% of the area median income.

The wait list for rental assistance in Los Angeles currently has 56,000 renters.

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