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LA County’s $100 Million Rent Relief Program: Who Qualifies And How To Apply

Graffiti on a wall on La Brea Ave. in May amid the Covid-19 pandemic. (Valerie Macon/AFP via Getty Images)
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Los Angeles County’s rent relief program launched this morning, with $100 million in CARES Act funding available to help struggling tenants.

The effort targets low-income tenants whose finances have suffered due to COVID-19. How much help someone can get, depends on their income.

  • Households at or below 30% of the median income (roughly $33,800 for a household of four) may receive as much as $10,000
  • Those under 50% of the median income are eligible for as much as $7,500.

Tenants are required to provide documentation of their eligibility.
The county pays landlords directly, and the money can go towards past or future rent payments. Landlords have to pledge not to charge late fees, or raise rents for a year after the county’s emergency ends.

Residents living in areas at higher risk of eviction and “other socio-economic vulnerabilities”, based on a federal formula, will be fast-tracked. County officials believe they will be able to assist more than 9,000 families with available funds.

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Renters across the county, excluding those who live in the city of Los Angeles, are eligible to apply. The city ran its own $100 million rent relief program in July that attracted 221,000 applications, with a maximum of $2,000 in support per household.

The city's effort was designed to help roughly 50,000 households; the county program is narrower, but is designed to go deeper.

“We took the approach that we're not going to help as many, but those that we do help, we're basically going to be preventing them from becoming homeless,” said Emilio Salas of the Los Angeles County Development Authority, which is administering the program. “They're going to be completely caught up.”

The application will be open for two weeks, and can be submitted online or over the phone. Demand is expected to be intense: The county has set aside 100 phone operators to answer 211 calls about the program.

Salas said that even $100 million is “a drop in the bucket”, and that billions would be required to help every family that qualifies. But every dollar helps.

He told us:

“The need is absolutely tremendous. I've been in this business 30 years. I have never seen anything like this. Just such a widespread need throughout the entire county.”

Applications will be accepted through Aug. 31.


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