LOS ANGELES, Calif. — Los Angeles County received over 47,000 applications for its new $100 million rent relief program less than two days after launching. The funds are aimed at helping low-income tenants who are struggling due to COVID-19.
What You Need To Know
- LA County officials hope to assist at least 9,000 families with the new rent relief program
- To be eligible, you must have your name on a lease, live outside the city, meet income requirements, be financially or medically impacted by COVID-19, and not already receive Section 8 housing support
- Applicants making at or below 30 percent of median income can receive up to $10,000, while residents at 50% of median income are eligible for as much as $7,500
- The deadline to submit an application is August 31st
The high number of applicants underscore the dire financial situation facing many but for some residents, like Shianne Lovings, the help comes too late. She was paying $1,000 to rent a room near Watts with her two children and fiancé. They were homeless during the pandemic, so finding a stable place to live was a relief.
“I’m not going to lie. Even though it wasn’t what we wanted, it was still a small space where, every single day, we weren’t looking for a new hotel room,” Lovings said.
After three weeks of moving in, her fiance’s work hours were cut back and she did not have a job. They couldn’t pay rent. Lovings said the landlord evicted her, which was illegal as it violated L.A. County’s moratorium on evictions meant to protect renters who cannot pay due to COVID-19. The eviction started a downward spiral for Lovings, including trouble with the law for allegedly assaulting a bus driver. Ultimately, she became homeless and now does not meet the eligibility requirements for the county’s rent relief program.
In order to be eligible, you must have your name on a lease, live outside the city of Los Angeles, meet income requirements, be financially or medically impacted by COVID-19, and not already receive Section 8 housing support. Applicants making at or below 30 percent of median income can receive up to $10,000. Residents at 50 percent of median income are eligible for as much as $7,500.
Among the 47,000 applications L.A. County received in the first day and a half, many may not be eligible, according to Vanessa Gentle. She manages 100 call operators who were hired for this program to help people with their applications.
“Callers are expressing how they have been laid off from their jobs,” Gentle said. “One lady in particular, she called in. She had been working with a company for years and unfortunately, they had to close down.”
Along with thousands of online submissions, the county received over 4,800 calls and processed 1,100 applications so far. “Now with the numbers being so high, it just shows this is needed,” she said. “People are inquiring, they are enrolling, they are signing up. They are telling family about it.”
Rent relief won’t come in time for Lovings, and she hopes others don’t go through what she and her children endured. “I’ve done everything I can to make sure they have what they need and I have what I need, like I’m sure any mother would,” she said. “It’s just, I’m stuck between a rock and a hard place.”
For more information about the rent relief program, go to 211la.org or call 211 between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m. The deadline to submit an application is Aug. 31.