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LA Council President to introduce motion for expanded renters relief

Los Angeles City Council President Nury Martinez will introduce a motion Tuesday

City News Service | 1/12/2021, 11:40 a.m.
Los Angeles is looking to to expand the city's Emergency Renters Relief Program...
In January 2020, Nury Martinez became the first Latina City Council President in the City Council's 170-year history. ‚Äč Nury Martinez

Los Angeles City Council President Nury Martinez will introduce a motion Tuesday to expand the city's Emergency Renters Relief Program using additional funding approved by Congress to assist tenants during the COVID-19 pandemic.

"I have said all along that the city and municipalities throughout the country need substantial and ongoing renters and mortgage relief from the federal government during this devastating pandemic, and I call on the Biden administration and the new Congress to take transformative action soon,'' Martinez said in a statement Monday.

"The success of our renters' assistance program, the largest renters' assistance program in the nation, is a strong indication that much more help is needed. The motion that I will introduce Tuesday aims to expand and continue our program with the funds we will soon have available to us.''

Los Angeles' rent relief program, which began over the summer, assisted 49,133 families through $103.9 million in allocated funding, according to Martinez' office. Assisted families received about $2,000 in rent subsidies.

The program was created to give a higher percent of funds to tenants at the lowest income levels: 46% went to Angelenos at 30% of the average median income or lower; 28% to those at 50% of the average median income or lower; and 25% to those at 80% of the average median income or lower.

Los Angeles' Housing & Community Investment Department and its nonprofit partner The Housing Center paid the subsidies directly to tenants, as well as landlords. Forty-four percent of the subsidies were paid to tenants, according to Martinez's office.

The motion Tuesday will call for planning the allocation of federal COVID-19 funding, which was adopted last month by Congress and includes about $2.6 billion for California rental assistance. The City Council will provide a framework for the money that will build on the previous program by providing rent assistance to low-income tenants and help stabilize small property owners, according to Martinez.

After it is introduced, the motion will be directed to Martinez's Ad Hoc Committee on COVID-19 Recovery and Neighborhood Investment.

Renters in Los Angeles are protected from eviction through a citywide eviction moratorium that will continue through the local coronavirus emergency.

The council will vote Tuesday to extend the emergency again.