LOS ANGELES (CNS) — Supervisor Hilda Solis Tuesday urged tenants and landlords to take advantage of state rental assistance dollars on offer, saying participation is low in certain areas of Los Angeles County.

"It is disheartening to still see very low participation of tenants and landlords in hard-hit communities like East LA, southeast LA and parts (of) the San Gabriel Valley, which indicates that more work needs to be done to increase participation," Solis said in a statement. "With over 66,000 unhoused residents, tackling our housing and homelessness crisis remains the county's number one priority."

Tenants in households with 2020 income below 80% of the county's median income are eligible, and priority is given to those with income at or below 50% of that level.

The median income set by the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development is $77,300 — 80% of that number $61,840.

Any tenant meeting the income test can apply, regardless of citizenship or immigration status. 

Solis' comments came after the Board of Supervisors approved the return of $84 million in funding to the state, which is now administering emergency rental assistance on behalf of the county.

As of Oct. 23, the state has distributed $308,152,988 in rent relief to Los Angeles County residents and assisted 25,937 households, according to Solis.

The state program does not yet have an end date, and Solis warned that continuing to provide rental assistance is critical to avoid further increases in homelessness.

"This pandemic has not affected everyone equally and, to that end, I am focused on meeting the needs of our community to stabilize households and mitigate the detrimental effects of disruptive displacements across the county," Solis said.

She urged anyone in need of help paying their rent — or having trouble getting payment from tenants — to visit stayhousedla.org or call 888- 694-0040.