The application period opened Monday for a Los Angeles County program offering $100 million in rent relief for tenants financially impacted by the coronavirus pandemic.

The money comes from federal COVID-19 relief funds to be managed by the Los Angeles County Development Authority, and will be paid directly to landlords to settle the unpaid rent of low-income tenants who are struggling as a result of the health and economic crisis. Los Angeles city residents are not eligible, since the city received a separate allocation of federal funds for its residents.

County officials said they hope the program will help 8,000 to 9,000 households.

Los Angeles city residents are not eligible, since the city received a separate allocation of federal funds for its residents.

“This $100 million will go a long way toward keeping houses and families housed,” county Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas said.

A lottery for eligible applicants will be held at the end of the two-week application period, but the program is designed to prioritize applicants considered at the greatest need. Applications must be filed by Aug. 31 to be considered. Residents can apply at 211la.org/lacounty/rentrelief or by calling 211 between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m.

Residents unable to pay their rent and living on 30% of the median income can receive up to $10,000. Those at 50% of the median income can receive up to $7,500.

“These figures are very important because it represents a deep level of assistance that’s truly meant to prevent homelessness,” said Emilio Salas, the LACDA acting executive director.

The eligible income limit for a household of four people, including money earned by all adults in that household, is $56,300. Residents can check their eligibility via a FAQ at 211la.org/lacounty/rentrelief.

“As we assess the damage caused by this pandemic, there are very evident health, mental health and financial impacts,” Supervisor Kathryn Barger said. “Every person has been affected, but COVID … disproportionately impacted our most vulnerable communities as the county began to tackle this challenge.”

Reasons for inability to pay rent can include loss of income due to reduced hours or business closures, medical costs related to COVID-19, increased child care costs, or loss of income related to emergency measures put in place after March 13.

Residents who live in ZIP codes at higher risk of eviction and other socioeconomic vulnerabilities will be fast-tracked for assistance, according to authorities. About 50% of the funding will be allocated to these ZIP codes, which are identified on the LACDA website.

Renters who receive subsidies under Section 8 are not eligible.

Ridley-Thomas said the program is designed to target low-income communities — often communities of color — and is consistent with the county’s “new approach to policy making consistent with the anti-racist agenda.”

“This is cutting edge. This is what we need to do,” he said. “This will not just be first-come, first-served. Not everyone will get the same amount. This program will be based on equity.”

All relief will be paid directly to landlords. A W-9 form is needed from property owners to receive rental income on behalf of their qualified tenant.

Supervisor Janice Hahn said the program would help landlords cope with the economic consequences of the pandemic.

“This is a massive undertaking to not only help struggling tenants pay their rent, but also help property owners who depend on rental income to pay their mortgages,” Hahn said.

To receive money from Los Angeles County, owners must agree not to evict the tenant for six months after the end of the COVID-19 emergency declaration and not to raise the rent for one year after the declaration ends.

Citizenship documentation will not be requested from any renters or property owners. People selected will need to provide a government-issued ID.

Though officials said demand for relief is sure to exceed the $100 million available, Supervisor Sheila Kuehl said the program is designed to keep residents who are living on the edge of homelessness from landing out on the street.

“This initial funding for rent relief is designed with a laser-sharp focus on people who are at greatest risk of becoming homeless,” Kuehl said. “The county is employing multiple ways to assist renters who have lost income because of the pandemic, but our number one goal with this program is to identify and support those who stand to lose their current housing very soon if they do not receive financial support. Moving forward, we hope that the federal and state government will partner with us to help assist the even larger population of additional people who are struggling to pay their rent.”

More information is available at rentrelief.lacda.org.

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