LA approves biggest rent relief program of any city in US. Is it enough?

Council passes $100M in federal funds to be awarded to eligible residents who have lost jobs or contracted Covid-19

Nury Martinez
Nury Martinez

Los Angeles approved a $100 million rent relief program aimed at helping residents whose lives and livelihoods have been upended by the pandemic. The amount is the largest coronavirus rent relief program that any city in the country has adopted.

The measure, which the City Council passed on Tuesday, provides up to $2,000 in rent subsidies to households under financial pressure because someone has lost their job, fallen ill or had to assist a family member, according to the Los Angeles Times.

The money is coming from the $694 million in federal funds that Washington allocated to L.A. as part of its $2 trillion coronavirus relief package in April.

Residents will have to prove they have suffered financially or contracted Covid-19 to qualify for relief. The money is capped at $1,000 per month, and would go directly to landlords.

Sign Up for the undefined Newsletter

Renters also have to meet certain income requirements. Households are ineligible if they earn more than 80 percent of L.A. County median income, or roughly $83,500 for a family of four.

Half of the $100 million is reserved for households making less than 30 percent of AMI, or $31,300 for a family of four.

A recent report by UCLA estimated that landlords in L.A. County could carry out 365,000 evictions once local and state officials lift the ban on evictions. Landlord groups have disputed that analysis.

California’s highest judicial authority postponed a decision earlier this month on whether to allow evictions to continue. That maintains the current freeze; it remains unclear when residential evictions would be allowed to resume.

Individual landlords and representation groups have sued to end the state’s ban. [LAT]Dennis Lynch