Los Angeles County Supervisors Janice Hahn and Hilda Solis have proposed creating an Emergency Rent Assistance Program during the COVID-19 crisis. The program would provide up to $1,000 per month for three months to renters who have lost income due to the coronavirus pandemic. If passed, it is possible the subsidy would apply to some renters in West Hollywood.
“As we fight the spread of this virus and do everything we can to save lives, this crisis has devastated families who were already living on the brink of poverty,” said Supervisor Janice Hahn in an announcement of the proposal. “The eviction moratorium we have in place has provided some relief, but many families are going to struggle to pay back the rent they owe after this crisis is over. A countywide rent assistance program would help keep people in their homes and lessen some of the long-term economic damage this pandemic will have on families.”
The Board of Supervisors has implemented a rent freeze and eviction moratorium to prevent families from losing their homes during this epidemic. However, renters will still need to pay back rent owed in the months after the crisis. Rent assistance through the proposed program would not need to be paid back and could prevent families from falling into even worse economic hardship.
The number of families that would be helped by the program would depend on the level of funding. It is likely that those eligible to receive the rent subsidies would have to be under certain income levels, but that has not yet been determined. Funding for the program would come from the second round of funding Los Angeles County expects to receive from the Federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act). Additional funding could come from philanthropy and private sources.
Liz Odendahl, Supervisor Hahn’s communications director, said that the City of Los Angeles and Long Beach will have a separate allocation, but that West Hollywood is likely to be among the other cities in Los Angeles County whose renters will receive the benefit.
“Housing stability is crucial for residents both during and after the COVID-19 crisis. We know the county’s eviction moratorium helps protect renters against homelessness now, but it won’t help them once past-due rent needs to be paid back,” said Los Angeles County Supervisor Hilda L. Solis, co-author of this motion. “This Emergency Rental Assistance Program can provide sorely needed support to cost burdened households while they are earning little or no income as a result of the pandemic.”
The Emergency Rent Assistance Program proposal will be voted on during this Tuesday’s virtual meeting of the Board of Supervisors. If the board approves the motion, it is expected that a report on the implementation of the program will be presented to the board within 30 days.
The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors meeting will be streamed live here at 9:30 a.m. Tuesday, April 14.