California’s $2B rent relief program gets flood of applications

Federally-funded dollars will go to landlords to settle back rent

Los Angeles /
Mar.March 18, 2021 11:40 AM
California’s rent relief program received thousands of applications on the day the system went live. (Getty)
California’s rent relief program received thousands of applications on the day the system went live. (Getty)

One day after California’s federally-funded rent and utility assistance program opened applications, the system had received more than 20,000 requests.

The $2 billion Covid-related program will help tenants pay back rent accumulated from April 1, 2020, through March 31, 2021, according to the Los Angeles Times, which first reported the application numbers. The state’s online system went live on Monday.

The money comes from the December federal stimulus measure, which allocated $25 billion for rent relief to states and cities based on their share of the U.S. population.

Tenants are eligible if their 2020 household income — or their current income — was 80 percent or below the median income for the region. Renters also need to prove a pandemic-related financial setback and must prove they are at risk of becoming homeless or have general housing instability.

If landlords agree to forgive 20 percent of that debt, the federal government will pay the remaining 80 percent of what a renter owes, according to the report.

The federal government will still cover 25 percent of back rent even if landlords don’t forgive that debt.

California’s statewide eviction moratorium extends through June.

Los Angeles has chosen to administer the rent relief program itself, rather than hand over that responsibility to the state. The city administered a smaller rent relief program last summer, which also used federal dollars.

[LAT] — Dennis Lynch 


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