‘A true blessing’: Applications now open for rent relief in L.A.

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Tenants who have fallen behind or who have been unable to make their rent payments on time because of the coronavirus pandemic can now apply for some relief by way of another round of rent assistance from the city of Los Angeles.

“Renters will have the ability to either have rent forgiven or a portion of their rent paid so they don’t get evicted,” Los Angeles Assemblyman Miguel Santiago said at a Tuesday news conference. “It doesn’t matter whether you’re documented, or undocumented in the city of Los Angeles.”

The $259 million 2021 COVID-19 Emergency Rental Assistance Program (ERAP), which is a partnership with the state and the federal government, was created to help tenants hit hardest by the financial fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic. The city opened up the application process Tuesday morning and will continue to accept them through April 30 at 11:59 p.m.

The program will prioritize paying past due rent from April 1, 2020, through March 31, 2021, and will grant up to $10,000 per household. Those renters in Los Angeles who are below 50% of the area’s median income will be prioritized, Santiago said. For a family of four, that would be a household income of about $56,000 per year or less. Those in a single-person household would have to make around $39,000 or less to be eligible.

People who have been unemployed for 90 days or more due to the pandemic can also apply.

Resident Flavia Chacon spoke at the news conference and described how grateful she is for the rent relief program.

“This is a true blessing for us families who have fallen behind,” Chacon, who became emotional while speaking, said. “It’s a true blessing because it a light at the end of a tunnel for us. We had nowhere to go, it’s been a lot of emotions.”

According to the program’s details, a tenant does not need to be behind on their rent to apply. If funding permits, the program may pay 25% of a tenant’s prospective rent for three months.

The rent relief program is available to all Los Angeles renters, regardless of their immigration status. Santiago said it’s important for residents to apply or else the funding “will just sit there.”

“If you are hurting for rent, apply now,” Santiago added.

The program will include $235 million allocated for direct rental assistance and another $3 million set aside for eviction defense.

For more details on how to apply for the rent relief program and to find out if you’re eligible, visit hcidla.lacity.org. Anyone who does not have internet access can call ERAP hotline, Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. at 833-373-0587.

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