BOYLE HEIGHTS, Calif. – Food-handling gloves are something Maria Feliciano has always had to purchase as a food vendor, but since the pandemic, the cost of gloves has risen, piling on additional financial strain to her already struggling business.
"On top of that we also have to make an additional purchase of buying masks as a way to protect our customers and ourselves. So every expense we make today as food sellers is more of an expense to us," said Feliciano.
Business has been very slow for Feliciano who sells Mexican food along with bacon-wrapped hot dogs from her food cart in Boyle Heights. It's her family's sole source of income.
When COVID-19 arrived, she had to stay home and couldn't go out to sell.
She just started selling food again two weeks ago, but hasn't had many customers.
Now, she's three months behind in rent.
"The money that we make is not enough to cover rent. There are many times when we have to decide whether to use those $40 or $50 dollars, to buy food for your family," said Feliciano.
On Monday, the application process opened for the Los Angeles City Emergency Renters Assistance Subsidy Program to help tenants affected financially by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The city estimates the program could help 50,000 households through two months of assistance with up to $2,000 dollars being awarded per home.
The funds would be paid directly to the tenant's landlord.
If Feliciano could get the support, it would alleviate some of the pressure she's under.
"And for us, it would be a big blessing and relief to have that support and not have to worry," she said.
In order to qualify for the program, you must live in the City of LA, provide proof of tenancy, have a household annual income at or below 80 percent of the area median income level prior to the COVID-19 crisis, and provide documentation of an income loss due to the pandemic.
Although Feliciano plans to apply, she's uncertain if she'll qualify if she can't provide the proper loss-of-income documentation.
The thing that gets her through these tough times is her faith.
"When I feel like I’m going to break, I remember that everything is going to pass and I believe in God and I think that we will overcome this," said Feliciano.
While her faith enables her to stay strong, she's hoping she'll get the assistance to pay her rent.