LA County passes rent assistance measure for laid-off workers

The county would pay residents up to $1,000 a month for 3 months help cover back-rent

TRD LOS ANGELES /
Apr.April 14, 2020 11:35 AM
The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors. From left: Janice Hahn, Kathryn Barger, Sheila Kuehl, Hilda L. Solis, and Mark Ridley-Thomas. (Credit: iStock)
The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors. From left: Janice Hahn, Kathryn Barger, Sheila Kuehl, Hilda L. Solis, and Mark Ridley-Thomas. (Credit: iStock)

The County Board of Supervisors approved a plan Tuesday to provide renters with up to $1,000 a month for three months, in a move aimed at helping those who have lost their jobs because of the pandemic.

The measure, approved unanimously, directs county officials to secure federal funds to establish the program, and report back with a plan to implement it in 30 days. It specifies the money can “subsidize the rent for those families who were recently laid off from retail and service industry jobs.”

Called the Emergency Rent Assistance Program, it will help residents pay back-rent due after Los Angeles’ rent freeze and eviction moratorium expire. Los Angeles County has already barred evictions for the near future, but renters will still be on the hook for missed payments in the future.

The money will come from the $2 trillion federal stimulus package, and possibly augmented by private parties or philanthropic organizations. The federal government CARES Act stimulus calls for another wave of payments to state and local governments in the coming weeks.

“We should leverage these [federal] dollars and seek philanthropic and private dollars so we can make this fund larger and help more people,” County Supervisor Janice Hahn said on Tuesday.
Hahn and Supervisor Hilda Solis proposed the motion last week. Hahn added that she considered the measure a lifeline for landlords as well as renters.

“It’s also unfair to put this on landlords out there, many of them obviously have mortgages to pay on these properties,” she said.

The City of L.A. is also considering a renter assistance measure. The City Council wants to resurrect a program it created last fall to help renters facing last-minute rent hikes in the leadup to the statewide rent reform law, which took effect in January.


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