Low-income tenants who are behind on their rent due to COVID-19 or other factors may qualify for rental assistance under a newly launched program in the city of Los Angeles.

The Emergency Renters Assistance Program is supported by Measure ULA and has an allocated budget of $18.4 million.

Applicants can submit their applications online at housing.lacity.org or by calling 888-379-3150. Phone lines are open from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., Monday through Friday. The application window opened at 8 a.m. on Tuesday, Sept. 19, and will close at 6 p.m. on Oct. 2.

To qualify for the assistance, which includes up to six months’ of rental debt, several conditions must be met according to the L.A. Housing Department. Applicants must reside within the city, which can be confirmed at neighborhoodinfo.lacity.gov.

Additionally, at least one member of the household must have experienced financial hardships such as job loss, income reduction, or unexpected expenses from March 2020 to the present. Applicants must also have unpaid rent for any period between April 2020 and now. Finally, the household income must be at or below 80% of the area’s median income.

This initiative marks the fourth time the city has allocated rental assistance funds since the onset of the pandemic. Previous rounds have benefited hundreds of thousands of residents.

Fred Sutton, CAA’s senior vice president of local public affairs, lauded the program.

“We should put 99% of available resources into programs like this,” Sutton said, as reported by LAist. “And frankly, this is just a small sliver of the funding that is potentially available, depending on what happens with ULA. It should be much more robust.”

Renters have until February 2024 to settle any rent arrears that accumulated from October 2021 to January 31, 2022.

Anna Ortega, assistant general manager of the L.A. Housing Department, said an online portal will launch on Oct. 23 at which landlords owning 12 or fewer units an apply for assistance.

“That will be an opportunity for landlords whose tenants may not have applied in the first phase to submit their application and then the program will review the landlord’s eligibility and invite the landlord’s tenants to also apply,” Ortega said, as reported in this City News Service article.