How to apply for rent relief is explained in detail at HousingIsKey.com (304756)

The California COVID-19 rent relief program is offering to pay 100 percent of unpaid rent for renters facing eviction during the pandemic. The program also allows landlords to apply when their tenants are not able to pay rent.

However, officials said a major obstacle has been getting the word out about the help available during these difficult times.

“A lot of people assume they are not eligible and that makes it difficult to help them,” said Jessica Hayes, a housing and community development specialist with the State of California. “The program is very flexible.”

The goal is to help residents catch up on unpaid rent and avoid being evicted when the current countywide eviction moratorium ends in LA County on September 30.

“I think all things are indicating that we will see a lot of evictions (after the moratorium ends),” said Manny Ruiz, senior policy analyst with the LA County Department of Consumer and Business Affairs. “The extent, we will have to wait and see.”

However, Ruiz hopes many of those evictions can be avoided, when those who need rental assistance visit www.stayhousedla.org. “There shouldn’t be a fear that there are barriers to access these resources. They are broadly available,” Ruiz added, who is also a consumer and business affairs specialist.

The state’s rent relief program, which can be accessed at www.housingiskey.com, is available to both landlords and renters. Renters can also call with questions at (833) 430-2122. If you don’t have internet access, appointments to fill out applications in person can be made by calling (833) 687-0967.

“Households that are most likely to be evicted will receive priority,” Hayes said.

According to state leaders, there are 32,000 active applications in LA County. Additionally, 10,000 applications are pending for renters who have not submitted their final paperwork. The county and statewide programs are both still active and applications are being accepted on a daily basis.

“Remember the county has healthcare services, job services, and many other services,” said Rigo Reyes, the executive director of LA County’s Office of Immigrant Affairs.

The “Stay Housed in LA County – Accessing Rental Assistance & Preventing Eviction” panel was hosted by Ethnic Media Services on July 29. Rental assistance is available at stayhousedla.org and housingiskey.com