Although California’s economy is reopening, COVID-19 rent relief is still available for renters and landlords who have been negatively impacted by the pandemic in Los Angeles County.
Officials said they have implemented a new, easier, user-friendly application that now takes 30 minutes to one hour to complete. The application is now translated into six languages and they have increased case management services.
Renters are eligible for up to 18 months of unpaid rent. Renters can apply for their landlords to be reimbursed 80 percent of unpaid rent between April 1, 2020 and March 31. The landlord must agree to waive the remaining 20 percent of unpaid rent for that specific time period. If the landlord does not agree, renters may receive 25 percent of unpaid rent between April 1, 2020 and March 31.
Meanwhile, landlords can also apply to receive 80 percent of eligible renters’ unpaid rent between April 1, 2020 and March 31, if they agree to waive the remaining 20 percent of unpaid rent for that specific time period.
On the legislative side, Gov. Gavin Newsom has proposed 100 percent compensation and payment of future rent with money California has received from the federal government.
One of those state leaders is Lynn von Koch-Liebert, the Deputy Secretary of Housing and Consumer Services at the California Business, Consumer Services and Housing Agency (BCSH). Koch-Liebert, who has been tasked with overseeing the state’s rent relief program, recently met with PICO California, a grassroots coalition that “enables people of faith to build power to reshape their lives and their communities.”
One of PICO CA’s goals is to fight racism and build a more equitable and just society, and housing justice has been a central focus during the pandemic. In the meeting, everyday Californians testified about how they had lost jobs, fallen behind on rent, and had nearly become homeless during the pandemic.
“It’s stressful to not be able to get the help that we need,” said Isabel Perez, who believes the online application is complicated and not easily understood for someone whose second language is English.
“I hear you and we’ve worked very hard over the past few weeks to make it easier,” Koch-Liebert said, adding that the program has already made $40 million in payments. “Now we’re going to start significant increases in the money that is paid out (going forward).”
For those who have internet access, CA COVID-19 rent relief applications for renters and landlords can be found at housing.ca.gov.
Applications can be filled out in person and help is available (833) 430-2122, 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.