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Los Angeles City Councilman Gil Cedillo is pushing for the city to spend up to $46 million in federal coronavirus relief funds to buy an apartment building in Chinatown, saying the move would spare dozens of tenants from facing steep rent hikes.

In a proposal filed last week at City Hall, Cedillo said he wants to use money from the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act to purchase Hillside Villa, a 124-unit building whose owner is seeking big rent increases. Such a move, Cedillo said, would keep tenants in their homes during a health and housing crisis.

“For us, it’s a good deal. The building’s built. The residents are already moved in. I recognize it’s extraordinary, but these are extraordinary times,” said the councilman, whose district stretches from Highland Park to Westlake.

Still, there’s a potentially big obstacle ahead: The city’s supply of COVID-19 relief money is quickly running out.

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