BOYLE HEIGHTS, Calif. – The eviction moratorium ended in September, but California Congregation Representative Miguel Santiago is working hard to inform low-income tenants in downtown Los Angeles – the one in greatest need for help in his district – that it always will protection and financing is still available that would cover 100% of the subsequent rent.
What you need to know
- The eviction moratorium ended in late September, but a local lawmaker wants low-income renters to know that protection and funding still exist
- Rep. Miguel Santiago traveled to the areas in his downtown LA district in greatest need to help them apply for funding that would cover 100% of their arrears rent
- Renters are eligible if they can demonstrate they have been affected by COVID-19 and have less than approximately $ 66,000 annual income for an individual
- For more information or to apply for rental and utility benefits, visit Housing.ca.gov or call (833) 687-0967
East LA’s YMCA has also informed people like the Neal family that they are entitled to free rental and utility benefits through a workshop.
“It’s just a lot. Parents, we (are) stressed out here. (We) can’t pay our bills on time, ”says Anneisha Neal, who has four young children at home.
Neal went through the application step-by-step with volunteers at the Boys and Girls Club in Boyle Heights and said she had no idea that government funding was still available.
It’s been extremely difficult for Neal and her family since she lost her job as the assistant manager of Little Caesars. She was pregnant at the time and could not find permanent employment.
“Sometimes you can’t sleep,” said Neal. “I don’t even know what the next day will bring. You have to make decisions when it comes to bills, especially if you have children.”
They live in low-income council housing, so it helps that the rent is well below the average for the area, but Neal said she couldn’t afford her utility bill, which rose to nearly $ 2,000.
She expects them to turn off the electricity every day, but that’s better than having their kids living out of a car.
Congregation member Miguel Santiago said situations like the Neal family’s are a dozen in this East LA district. He said around 125,000 people in that district could be eligible for 100% rent and utility relief by April 2020, but only 20,000 have applied for it.
“We advertised, we phoned, we went to community organizations and there were a lot of questions like ‘do I qualify, am I lacking quality?'” Said Santiago.
He has partnered with the YMCA, the Housing Authority, and other community organizations to help promote funding. According to Santiago, the state alone has provided $ 5.2 billion for rental support.
East LA YMCA executive director Brenda Hernandez also took to the streets to spread the word in hopes of breaking down the digital and language barriers of the predominantly Hispanic community. She has told struggling tenants that they are eligible for allowance as long as they are affected by COVID and have an annual income of less than about $ 66,000 for a single person.
“Whether it’s technical support creating an email, often they don’t even have access to an email, so we have to create this from scratch and then walk them through the application process,” explained Hernandez.
She has also advised tenants that once landlords apply for funding, they are no longer legally able to terminate tenants while waiting for payment. They are protective measures that last until March next year.
Neal said she plans to share the help with everyone she knows in the community who are still grappling with the long-term effects of COVID-19.
“I’m very, very grateful because I didn’t know what to do,” she said.
Santiago, Supervisor Hilda Solis, and the Fair Housing Foundation also visited Huntington Park to spread the word. Of the almost 60,000 residents, fewer than 900 tenants have applied.
For more information or to apply for rental and utility benefits, visit Housing.ca.gov or call (833) 687-0967.