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Morning Brief: Eviction Fears, The NFL, And A Hip-Hop Initiative

The words "Forgive Our Rent" are spray-painted on an otherwise blank wall.
A graffiti asking for rent forgiveness is seen on a wall on La Brea Ave. early in the COVID-19 pandemic.
(Valerie Macon
AFP via Getty Images)
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Good morning, L.A. It’s March 30.

Many tenants in California have had a hard time paying their rent since the pandemic began. From lost jobs to medical bills, the past two years have brought massive financial pressure.  

State and local officials have tried to abate the stress through rent relief programs and eviction protections, but those are set to expire in the coming months.

The state rent relief window will slam shut tomorrow, March 31. But money has been so slow to reach tenants that many in Sacramento are pushing for that application deadline to be extended.

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If that effort goes through, anyone with an open application would be protected from eviction until the end of June, regardless of the status of their application. But, as my colleague David Wagner reports, many eligible renters haven’t filed an application, either because they didn’t know about the rent relief program, didn’t have access to a computer or the internet, or simply didn’t have the time to file.

One such tenant, Lynwood resident Valerie Flores, told David that she’s been unable to work while staying home to take care of her young son, who has special needs. During that time, she fell behind on rent.

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“My landlord told me that if I don't pay, I’ll have to leave,” said Flores. “I hope that [nonprofit organization Strategic Actions for a Just Economy] can help me with the problems I’m having.”

That’s also the hope of activists like Patricia Mendoza, an organizer with the Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment. Mendoza is urging tenants who owe back rent to submit their applications as soon as possible.

“I can't stress it enough,” she said. “If you owe rent, if you have that rent debt, then please apply, apply, apply.”

Keep reading for more on what’s happening in L.A., and stay safe out there.

What Else You Need To Know Today

Before You Go ... UCLA Launches A Center For Hip-Hop Studies

Rapper Chuck D, A middle-aged Black man, stands on a stage in front of a DJ and red lighting, holding a microphone. He wears a black t-shirt and a black hat.
Rapper Chuck D performs on stage during "Midnight At The Oasis" Annual Art For Life Benefit on July 15, 2017 in Water Mill, New York.
(Jason Kempin
Getty Images North America)
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If you’ve ever dreamed of studying under a rap legend, you may get your chance, if you happen to be a UCLA student. The university just unveiled their Hip-Hop Initiative, housed in the Ralph J. Bunche Center for African American Studies, and their first artist-in-residence is none other than Chuck D, a founding member of the seminal 1980’s socially conscious rap group Public Enemy. Fight the power, bring the noise, and read all about the initiative here.

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