Los Angeles County supervisors Janice Hahn and Hilda Solis proposed Thursday an emergency rent-assistance program for up to $1,000 a month for three months to renters affected by the coronavirus pandemic.
"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," Hahn said. "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."
Even with the Board of Supervisors' action to halt evictions for people who can't pay rent because they haven't been able to work, renters will still need to pay back what they owe in the months after the pandemic ends.
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 supervisors said.
The number of families the program would be able to help would depend on funding available, which could be provided in a second round of the Federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act, or CARES Act.
The supervisors said they are hoping for additional funding to come from philanthropies or private sources.
"Housing stability is crucial for residents both during and after the COVID-19 crisis," Solis said. "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."
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The emergency rent-assistance program proposal will be voted on during Tuesday's virtual meeting of the Board of Supervisors.