Los Angeles City Council President Nury Martinez, 6th District, announced on May 27 that she has introduced a motion to establish a $100 million relief fund for renters in the city of Los Angeles.
Martinez was joined in making the announcement in a video press conference by Mayor Eric Garcetti and Councilmembers Mitch O’Farrell, 13th District; Herb Wesson, 10th District; and John Lee, 12th District. The $100 million would come from federal funds allocated to Los Angeles under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act. The officials said it will provide badly needed relief for renters who are struggling to stay housed during the COVID-19 pandemic and will create a source of funding to landlords, who will receive the rent payments directly from the city.
“People are desperate and struggling throughout our city, and housing is their biggest burden,” Martinez said. “I am particularly concerned about Angelenos on the edge of homelessness, our working poor, people who are seeing little to no relief from the federal government. 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.”
Details of exactly how the fund will be disbursed are still being worked out. Tenants would receive funds based on need. They will have to document that they have been impacted by COVID-19 to qualify, and must earn less than 80% of the average median income in their neighborhood. Martinez said the fund is anticipated to help 74,000 to 80,000 people.
The city is also seeking donations that will increase the amount of relief available to renters. She encouraged people seeking information or who want to help to visit the Los Angeles Housing + Community Investment Department website at hcidla.lacity.org.
The renters relief fund is part of a comprehensive effort to help struggling Angelenos during the pandemic. The City Council previously passed a moratorium on evictions during the COVID-19 public health emergency and has prohibited rent increases in rent-controlled apartments.
O’Farrell has also focused on relief in the 13th District, allocating $2 million for residential and commercial tenant assistance.
“Protecting renters, ensuring that rental properties don’t go into foreclosure and adding stability to our housing and commercial tenant market has been my top priority since the pandemic began and the COVID-19 emergency orders went into effect,” O’Farrell said. “That is why I have re-prioritized $2 million of funding from my own district to help the most vulnerable renters and small businesses that I serve. This start-up fund will now help even more Angelenos in the 13th District and across the city. I look forward to working with Council President Martinez to ensure that these subsidies benefit people with the greatest need, and I will continue advocating for additional resources at the state and federal level to keep Los Angeles on track for a full recovery.”
The $100 million renters relief fund would come from an approximately $700 million allocation from the federal government to the city under the federal CARES Act. Martinez said an ad hoc committee will determine how the other federal funding will be used.
The motion to create the $100 million renters relief fund will next be considered by the Ad Hoc Committee on COVID-19 Recovery and Neighborhood Investment before coming back to the full City Council for a final vote.
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