LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) – Councilman Kevin de Leon introduced a motion Friday to increase the pace of distributing federal rental assistance money to those struggling to pay rent due to the coronavirus pandemic.

De Leon said more than 113,000 people in Los Angeles are behind on their rent and could face eviction when the city’s moratorium ends on Sept. 30.

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His office said the city has $235 million in rental relief money with another $260 million on the way. As of Friday, only about $35 million of that has been distributed.

“The problem we face is not a problem of funding … Rather, our problem is a lack of urgency and creativity and commitment to rise to the challenge of this unprecedented crisis,” de Leon said.

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The legislation addresses four points:

  • It would require the Los Angeles Housing + Community Investment Department to report on what resources it needs to process and pay all outstanding applications by Oct. 1.
  • The HCID would submit weekly progress reports to the City Council on the status of application payments.
  • The HCID would reopen the application period with people able to be put on a waitlist.
  • The HCID will develop a multi-lingual and technological assistance system to help those with language barriers or those with a lack of access to the Internet.

“L.A. may have some time on its side with the local moratorium, but the pace we are on is inadequate to get people the help they need today,” he said. “Every day is filled with fear, anxiety and panic.”

De Leon said at the current pace, the rental assistance program won’t complete payments for 18 months.

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