By CBSLA Staff

LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) — Low-income Los Angeles residents can now apply for assistance to pay utility bills under a program to provide federal financial relief amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Last week, L.A. City Council voted to use $50 million in federal COVID-19 relief funds toward helping low-income residents pay their Department of Water and Power bills.

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“Our low-wage workers continue to suffer in silence,” said Council President Nury Martinez, who authored the motion to create the program. “They are the first to put themselves and their families at risk through their essential work. I am unapologetically dedicated during this pandemic to help them get whatever resources they need to hang on and stay in their homes.”

The COVID-19 Utility Grant Program, operated in partnership with the Department of Water and Power, will distribute funding by a lottery system but will prioritize funding for people affected by the pandemic who are already enrolled in the DWP’s low-income assistance program.

Los Angeles city residents who are DWP customers making 50% of the area median income or less will be eligible to receive $500 to assist with utility costs, which includes gas, cellular phone, wifi and internet/cable services.

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The program is expected to serve up to 100,000 households, according to Martinez.

Applicants for the funding must be a DWP residential customer with an online account during the enrollment period, which ends Nov. 15.

More information about applications and the Utility Grant Project can be found here.

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(© Copyright 2020 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. City News Service contributed to this report.)