Los Angeles tenants were greeted by error messages as they tried to apply for $2,000 in rent relief by phone and online after registration opened Monday morning for a citywide program aimed at helping renters impacted financially by COVID-19.
At 8 a.m., the city officially began accepting applications online for its Emergency Renters Relief Program at https://hcidla.lacity.org/.
But those trying to apply for a chance at the funds were already running into issues within two hours of registration opening, as a flood of would-be applicants was apparently too much for the site to handle.
“We’re experiencing high volume of traffic, please try again in 30 minutes,” the website read.
Phone lines were busy during that time as well, and individuals trying to apply by calling 844-944-1868 also were also unable to get through.
However, applications will be accepted through 11:59 p.m. Friday, and officials emphasized that selection for the subsidies will be random and not based on when the resident applied.
The $103 million rental assistance program — the largest of of its kind in any U.S. city — will help about 50,000 L.A. households impacted by the coronavirus pandemic.
Tenants in multifamily units can receive up to $1,000 a month, with the maximum set at $2,000 per household. The money will be paid directly to the landlord.
Most of the funds are coming from stimulus money the city received as part of the federal CARES Act.
The program is open to all L.A. renters — regardless of immigration status — who made 80% or less of the average median income before the public health emergency hit. That’s approximately $58,450 for one person or $83,500 for a family of four.
Additionally, applicants will be asked to show proof of tenancy in the city and demonstrate that they lost income due to the pandemic after March 13.
Renters can enter their address into this interactive map to verify that they live within city limits prior to submitting their application.
More information about the program can be found at hcidla.lacity.org.