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Applications for the Los Angles County COVID-19 Rent Relief program open Monday, Aug. 17, and Santa Monica residents in need of assistance are encouraged to apply.

The rental relief initiative is set to open to all renters in Los Angeles County who meet the income requirements, and officials hope to assist more than 9,000 with the $100 million that have been set aside to assist eligible renters. To provide important information about how to apply for the Countywide Rental Relief Program, Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors Chair Pro Tem Hilda Solis held on online discussion Thursday with Emilio Salas of the Los Angeles County Development Authority, who said the program is unlike any he had ever seen.

“We know there are many people having a hardship right now in terms of paying their rent,” because they might’ve lost their job or a significant part of their household income, Solis said Thursday. “And we know it’s really impacting communities of color.”

Los Angles County’s eviction moratorium is still in place, but Solis said she’s proud the Board of Supervisors allocated $100 million in rental relief for tenants and mom-and-pop property owners.

Salas shared Solis’ excitement when he had the opportunity to speak during Thursday’s live stream when he stated the program will target the areas with the highest need in the county.

“We wanted to make sure the assistance got right to the folks who needed it most, so at least 50% of the funds are going to go straight to these areas that we’ve identified that need it the most,” which includes homes in areas like Santa Monica as well as others, Salas said, mentioning residents can visit lacda.org/programs/rent-relief-zip-codes to view a complete list of eligible zip codes.

“It is going to be income-based,” so households who make 50% of the median income will receive up to $7,500 of assistance, Salas said. “Those at 30% of the median income and below will receive up to $10,000 of assistance, so this program is unlike any that I’ve seen in the country,” and it’s literally going to be a lifeline for some folks and will hopefully prevent increased homelessness.

Citizenship and documentation are not a requirement, Salas added, mentioning there will be two ways to apply between 8 a.m. Monday and 8 p.m. Monday, Aug. 31. One can go online to 211LA.org and submit an application or call 211 to talk to the more than 100 operators who will be ready to assist residents with any questions and applications.

“Even if you don’t live in those high need areas,” Salas said, “if you’re at 50% median income and below, you may still be eligible and I would encourage you to apply.”

brennon@smdp.com