Long Beach reopens rent relief program

City revives program after receiving $13M in federal and state funding

Long Beach reopens rent relief program

The City of Long Beach, California reopened its pandemic rental assistance program thanks to an infusion of new state and federal funding, city officials announced.

Long Beach, the second most populous city in Los Angeles County – and seventh largest in California – administers its own rental assistance program, as does the City of Los Angeles and Santa Clarita, in northern L.A. County. Long Beach had been forced to stop processing applications for 30 days, Rick de la Torre, a spokesman, told The Real Deal, because of a lack of funding; the program was able to reopen after recently receiving $13 million in new money.

“And in that 30 days we still had lots of applications that were incomplete that we wanted to have people complete – missing documents and so forth,” de la Torre said. “The idea is to do things correctly and completely and help folks get the assistance they need, and get the assistance into the hands of the landlords.”

The announcement offers a glimmer of hope for the thousands of Long Beach renters and landlords who are still hurting.

To date, according to a press release, more than 13,000 tenants and landlords in the coastal city have applied for aid through the Long Beach program, but Long Beach has paid or approved funding for just 1,690 applicants. The sum of those payments is $12.1 million, or an average of roughly $7,200 each.

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Tens of thousands of renters and property owners elsewhere in L.A. County are also still seeking payouts.

In the City of Los Angeles, as of Aug. 10, 113,000 applicants had claimed $530 million in back rent, and $41 million had been approved. In the remainder of Los Angeles County, where applications are handled by the state system, 38,000 tenants and landlords have applied for help as of Aug. 17, and roughly 12,000 have been approved. The average payout for those applicants is $12,300.

In May, California Governor Gavin Newsom – facing a recall campaign – famously unveiled a $5.2 billion program, funded by the state’s record budget surplus, that promised to cover 100% of back rent for qualifying Californians. But the program has been slow to pay out, leaving many tenants and landlords in dire financial straits.

On Aug. 3, President Joe Biden also extended a national eviction moratorium until October, and last week a federal judge upheld the law.  The Long Beach program will remain open for applications until funds are exhausted, the release said.

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Approximately 15 percent of rental households in the U.S. are currently behind on their payments. (iStock)
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