LOS ANGELES – LA residents have two weeks left to apply for the city's COVID-19 Emergency Renters Assistance Program.
What You Need To Know
- LA residents have until April 30th to apply for the city's COVID-19 Emergency Renters Assistance Program
- $235 million have been set aside for the program, with another $3 million going towards eviction defense
- As many as 64,000 families will get help, receiving about $10,000 each
- To find out if you qualify or apply visit www.hcidla.lacity.org
The program has earmarked $235 million with another $3 million going towards eviction defense. The program will be critical for residents like 29 year old Leylany who lives in the Pico-Union area.
The pandemic stripped her family of their jobs, savings and food. Food banks helped them refill their pantry, but there is no equivalent for their biggest problem yet – seven months behind on rent.
“I’m not used to this. It is like, the only way I can describe it, is like a knot in your throat. A pill that remains here and you keep trying to swallow and swallow and swallow,” said Leylany.
Her family’s undocumented status can make getting a job tricky. They also do not qualify for stimulus checks and cannot apply for unemployment. As soon as applications opened, Leylany and her family, applied for LA’s Emergency Renters Assistance Program that promises to pay up to 80% of a family’s past-due rent if they qualify.
“I’m praying to God. I’m praying I receive that help, because if we don’t, I don’t know, I don’t know what’s going happen,” she said.
There is a catch, however. The landlord has to agree to waive the other 20% of the rent. If the landlord does not agree to those conditions, the program will pay the tenant 25% of the back rent, and up to 25% of the tenant’s future rent, for three months.
Although Mike Warner is not Leylany’s landlord, he does have 70 apartment units. He said for him, waiving the 20% is a no brainer.
“I think as a practical matter, you’ve got to do it. Otherwise, you are going to end up in front of a judge and say: well your honor, I am not willing to write off 20%, will you award me 100% of what I am owed. I think most judges would laugh and say no,” he said.
Warner, like many small landlords, are taking out loans, tapping into savings and retirement funds to stay afloat.
The program he said will provide some relief.
“Having the funds go directly to landlords rather than to the residents, I think that’s significant, I really do,” said Warner.
As many as 64,000 families will get help by receiving about $10,000 each.
Leylany hopes hers will be one of them.
“Living here in the United States you would never think that you have to live through those times, or that poverty is going to hit your home,” she said.
A home they will only be able to stay in if they get assistance.
To find out if you qualify or apply visit www.hcidla.lacity.org.