California has received a $27-billion windfall courtesy of the $1.9-trillion pandemic relief bill signed by President Biden earlier this year. A substantial chunk of that money will go toward bolstering rental relief efforts in the Los Angeles area, city and county officials announced this week.
According to a new release from Mayor Eric Garcetti, the Housing Authority of the City of Los Angeles (HACLA) will obtain 3,295 emergency housing vouchers through the bill - dubbed the American Rescue Plan. That amount represents the second-largest allotment for a single jurisdiction in the United States.
“The American Rescue Plan is doing exactly what was promised — helping our hardest-hit families, workers, and communities recover from this pandemic, get back to work, find a roof over their heads, and begin the road to a stronger tomorrow,” said Garcetti in a prepared statement. “As a city already making heroic investments in solving the twin crises of homelessness and housing insecurity, Los Angeles is ready to put these vouchers to work bringing our unhoused neighbors indoors and forging a fairer, more just and equitable future for every Angeleno.”
The vouchers are intended to specifically assist individuals and families who are either homeless, at risk of becoming homeless, or are fleeing domestic violence, sexual assault, stalking or human trafficking.
The tenant-based vouchers, which amount to $46 million, are slated to expire after nine years. They will be added to HACLA's regular distribution of 51,000 Section 8 vouchers.
Separately, Los Angeles County Board Chair Hilda Solis announced that the American Rescue Plan also includes a $211.8-million allocation toward rent relief efforts in Los Angeles County.
"This funding could not come at a more critical moment," said Solis in a news release. "In Los Angeles County, we have entered the yellow tier and with more businesses re-opening, we are now preparing for an economic recovery from the pandemic. This funding will ensure that we have an inclusive and equitable approach to Los Angeles County’s recovery from the pandemic by providing much needed financial assistance to rent-burdened communities..."
The Los Angeles Times reports that the total amount of funding to Los Angeles from the relief package is $1.3 billion. Other Southern California cities receiving funding include Long Beach ($135 million), Santa Ana ($128 million), Anaheim ($106 million), Irvine ($56 million), and Pasadena ($52 million).
The Federal relief package could be supplemented by a new state stimulus package, driven by California's unexpected $75.7 billion budget surplus. The package could include up to $5 billion to cover back rent for those who have fallen behind on payments, as well as $2 billion to pay down back utility bills.