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L.A. officials announce $259 million rent relief program

(KTLA) The city of Los Angeles plans to roll out a $259 million rent relief program, continuing efforts started last year to assist tenants hit hardest by the financial fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Using federal funding from the $1.3 trillion stimulus package, the city will begin accepting applications for the second round of rental assistance on March 30. The funding is more than twice the $103 million made available to L.A. families last summer.

Those who qualify must earn 50% or less of the area median income, City Council President Nury Martinez said during a 9 a.m. news conference at City Hall in downtown Los Angeles. She described the rental relief program, which the council approved March 2, as the largest one in the country.

Martinez said thousands of families in L.A. are struggling to pay back rent amounting to around $4,000 to $7,000. She said at least 90,000 Californians have fallen behind on their rent payments.

Last year, a total of 49,000 families received rental assistance, officials said.

Mayor Eric Garcetti said the new round of funding will help local families get back on their feet just as coronavirus case rates are finally declining, with the end of the pandemic finally in sight.

“We definitely can feel hope on the horizon,” Garcetti said. “We can feel it in vaccinations that are going into people’s arms and money that is going into people’s pockets.”

People can start applying from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. on March 30. While the application period has not started, details on how to apply and whether you’re eligible can be found here on the city website.

Officials said a new call center will handle applications by phone but details on that have not yet been released.