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Olvera Street Businesses May See Continued Rent Relief — If This Motion Passes

Shuttered businesses on Olvera Street at the start of the pandemic.
(Chava Sanchez
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L.A. City Councilman Kevin De Leon introduced a motion this week to extend rent forgiveness for six more months in El Pueblo De Los Angeles, the city's historic core.

Merchants already had their rent waived from last July to December, and De Leon's motion says because of merchants' ongoing inability to pay, the city should waive rent payments from January through the end of June.

Any rent paid since Jan. 1 would be credited towards future rent, according to the motion.

Word on Olvera Street is everyone needs rent forgiveness to keep going.

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Valerie Hanley runs the gift shop Casa California, which was closed from last March to September.

"Merchants rely you know, anywhere between 40 and 60% of their income is tourism," Hanley said.

Without international travel or events like Las Posadas, Hanley says that isn't happening. Most shops on Olvera Street operate weekends only.

Hanley says she'd like to see all of 2020-2021's rent forgiven, because if Casa California has to pay full rent again soon, she says it'll be out of business in a month.

My father started in 1930 when the street opened, so some families are three, four generations on Olvera Street. That's a lot of history to lose.
— Valerie Hanley, Olvera Street business owner

Councilman De Leon says he wants to see the city establish a tiered system for business owners to gradually get back to paying full rent.