By CBSLA Staff

LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) — The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors voted Tuesday to evaluate whether it could implement a federal program designed to reimburse families for COVID-related burial costs.

Covered empty caskets stand in a garage at the Boyd Funeral Home Jan. 14 during a surge of COVID-19 deaths in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Patrick T. Fallon/AFP via Getty Images)

Supervisor Hilda Solis asked Fesia Davenport, the county’s chief executive, to see whether the requirements set by the Federal Emergency Management Agency could be met.

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“To date, there have been over 17,000 families grieving the loss of family members who died of COVID-19 in Los Angeles County. Their profound grief is often compounded by the fact they cannot afford the significant costs of their loved one’s burial,” Solis said.

She said families have had to organize car washes, food sales and GoFundMe campaigns to raise the money needed to lay their loved ones to rest.

“From East Los Angeles to communities in the San Gabriel Valley, I have heard from so many of my constituents, as well as staff at funeral homes, of this real and devastating toll on families,” Solis said.

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The relief package passed in December sets aside $2 billion in financial aid for the cost of COVID-related funerals incurred from Jan. 1 through Dec. 31, 2020. The funds do not require a state match or cost sharing, according to Solis.

FEMA said it was still reviewing the legislation and working out implementation, but Solis said time was of the essence and the county has a responsibility to help provide for proper burials.

Supervisor Holly Mitchell suggested that the county start educating residents about the potential need for documentation in the event the program can be implemented so families can expedite the process by requesting a death certificate and gathering records of expenses.

While Solid did not provide any additional details, Sen. Chuck Schumer and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, both of New York, held a news conference to announce that low-income families in that state would be entitled to claim up to $7,000 in reimbursements.

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(© Copyright 2021 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. City News Service contributed to this report.)