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Photograph: Courtesy Unsplash/Abbie Bernet

The City of Los Angeles will provide up to $2,000 a month to renters most in need

About 50,000 households will be chosen in a lottery to receive assistance.

Michael Juliano
Written by
Michael Juliano

Days, weeks and months have been blurring together lately, but there’s one date we never forget: the first of the month, when rent is due. And with one fifth of Angelenos currently unemployed, it’s not exactly a cheery date.

So on Wednesday, the City of Los Angeles Housing and Community Investment Department announced that it was stepping in to help. The citywide Emergency Rental Assistance Subsidy Program will provide up to $1,000 per month per person at a maximum of $2,000 per household in rental assistance to those most in need, and applications open next week.

The city has allocated $103 million for temporary rent subsidies to tenants in the City of Los Angeles—emphasis here specifically on the city and not the county, which ran a separate program—who are unable to pay rent due to Covid-19–related circumstances. In total, the city expects to be able to assist 50,000 households. UPDATE: The cities of Pasadena and Santa Monica have launched similar programs, with applications opening July 15 and July 17, respectively.

Here’s what you need to know before you consider applying: You’ll need to be a resident of the City of Los Angeles and able to provide proof of tenancy (but you don’t need to verify immigration status). In addition, you’ll need to provide documentation of a loss or reduction of income due to Covid-19 after March 13, 2020. Finally, you’ll need to have a household annual income at or below 80% of the Area Median Income (AMI) prior to the pandemic. If you’re solo, that means an annual income limit of $58,450; if you’re in a two-person household, the income limit is $66,800 (you can find a full list for different household sizes on the HCIDLA website).

If you meet all of those requirements, you can apply on the HCIDLA site starting on Monday, July 13 at 8am and until Friday, July 17 at 11:59pm (you can also call 844-944-1868 from 8am to 10pm during that period if you don’t have access to a phone). Once the application window closes, recipients will be chosen at random and then asked to submit documentation to prove their eligibility. In addition, the subsidy won’t go into your pocket but instead directly to your landlord—it is money specifically to pay rent, after all.

And technically, your landlord has to consent to participating in the program, which requires them to agree not to charge any interest or late fees for rents owed; not evict you for sixth months after the expiration of the local emergency declaration; and not to impose a rent increase during the yearlong repayment period. These may sound like commitments that require a particularly benevolent landlord, but technically your landlord already needs to adhere to these due to L.A.’s temporary renter protections.

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