A pair of Los Angeles City Council members Tuesday proposed establishing programs to help low-income residents and workers get through the coronavirus pandemic.
“The city, state, nation and the world are in the fight of our lives to save as many people as possible from a virus that is a threat to all of us, regardless of race, religion, sexual preference, immigration or economic status,” Council President Nury Martinez said. “While we all are clearly at a health risk, no one is at greater risk in the ability to recover from the ensuing economic crisis than low-income workers.”
Martinez and Councilman Herb Wesson partnered on a motion to revive the Emergency Renters Relief Program, which would assist low-income earners in paying rent once the emergency orders are lifted. It was first used last fall to help low-income renters before a state bill that capped rent increases went into effect on Jan. 1.
The council members also proposed the establishment of an “Emergency Lifeline Jobs Program” to ensure that federal COVID-19 relief dollars coming to the region will help low-income Angelenos get back to work.
Martinez said the program would create “quality, sustainable employment” once the immediate threat of COVID-19 has decreased, including jobs in construction and housing projects beneficial to “historically underserved” neighborhoods.
The proposals will be heard during the next City Council meeting, which has yet to be scheduled.
Martinez and Wesson said they would dedicate seed money to both programs, with the council president dedicating $1 million from her Sixth Council District discretionary fund to the Emergency Renters Relief Program.
Wesson is pledging to dedicate $150,000 to the program for residents in his 10th Council District, and the motion asks the city’s Housing and Community Investment Department to identify other funding sources.
Both council members said they each intend to dedicate $100,000 to the Emergency Lifeline Jobs Program to be used by nonprofit organizations in their districts.
The City Council at its last meeting in March adopted an emergency measure to halt evictions when people are unable to pay rent due to being unable to work while stay-at-home orders are in effect. Tenants will still be on the hook to pay back the rent.