Addressing LA County’s housing crisis with Sheila Kuehl

Addressing LA County’s housing crisis with Sheila Kuehl

Vidya Sethuraman
India Post News Service

In this sixth in a series of special briefings for ethnic/community media sponsored by LA County’s Joint Information Center on COVID, this week’s focus is on housing. Speakers provided crucial information to residents across LA County about their housing/tenant rights, available rent stabilization programs and the “Stay Housed LA” initiative.

Supervisor Sheila Kuehl, District 3 said 120,000 LA county households may be at the risk of eviction due to loss of income caused by the pandemic. We couldn’t let that happen. The moratorium on evictions for those affected by the pandemic expires on June 30, 2021 also protects mobile home renters, commercial tenants and residential tenants, which means that many families are desperate, looking for a way to pay their debts, and not lose their homes. 

The county has also provided residents with advice, direct rent support and eviction defense. Supervisor said when tenants have legal representation, a family’s chance of avoiding homelessness due to eviction increases by manifolds. Stay Housed L.A. County is a collaboration between community organizations and legal service providers across the county, along with the L.A. County Department of Consumer and Business Affairs and Liberty Hill Foundation, to educate tenants on their rights and connect them to the right legal service provider.

Rafael Carbajal, Director, LA County Department of Consumer and Business Affairs spoke on the programs offered by DCBA from March 2020. One of the most serious economic impacts of the pandemic is foreclosure, as thousands of families could end up homeless, and rental unit owners could lose their investment. To avoid that, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors, through the Department of Consumer and Business Services and the Center for Economic Recovery created the Foreclosure Prevention and Mortgage Relief program. Starting Monday, April 12, property owners can apply for the Mortgage Relief Program by calling (888) 895-2647 or visiting Free foreclosure prevention counseling will be provided by nonprofit HUD-approved counseling agencies to property owners in multiple languages.

Dana Pratt, Deputy Director, LA County Department of Consumer and Business Affairs explained the work done by DCBA. The LA County Housing & Tenant Protection Division is a department dedicated to protecting tenants from unlawful evictions. She explained in detail on the CA COVID-19 Rent Relief program launched on March 15. Both renters and landlords can apply for CA COVID-19 Rent Relief. If landlords choose to participate, they will receive 80 percent of an eligible tenant’s unpaid rent for the period of April 1, 2020 and March 31, 2021 if they agree to waive the remaining 20 percent of unpaid rent.

Renters making less than 80 percent or less of the Area Median Income (AMI) for their location are eligible. Eligible renters with landlords who choose not to participate in the program can apply on their own. Those renters will be eligible to receive payments of 25 percent of unpaid rent accrued from April 1, 2020 to March 31, 2021, which can help protect them from eviction under SB 91. For more information on program eligibility, required application information, and to start the application process, call 833-430-2122. Residents of the City of Los Angeles, regardless of immigration status qualify for this program if their household income is at or below 80% of the area median income and one or more individuals within the household have qualified for unemployment benefits or experienced a reduction in household income, incurred significant costs, or experienced other financial hardship, directly or indirectly, due to the COVID-19 outbreak.

Stay Housed LA County is a collaboration among 14 community-based organizations, nine legal service providers, Liberty Hill, and the LA County Department of Consumer and Business Affairs (DCBA). Its mission is to inform tenants of their rights and to provide them with free legal and educational resources they need to exercise those rights, said Jenny Delwood, Executive Vice President, Liberty Hill Foundation. With a focus on the most vulnerable, they have contacted more than 208,000 tenants via phone and text banks. In addition, the coalition has hosted 216 workshops and served 9300 tenant households with legal assessments or services. Every day they reach more people with this critical information and assistance.

Dr. Eloisa Gonzalez MD, MPH, Director, Cardiovascular and School Health, LA County Department of Public Health said 4,913,321 doses of vaccines are administered in LA County. Starting April 15, vaccines will become available to any resident in Los Angeles County who is 16 and older. COVID vaccine is free for all and no personal information shared with any agency. All three FDA authorized vaccines underwent rigorous clinical trials that documented near 100% effectiveness in preventing COVID-related hospitalizations and deaths.

Visit: or the CDC website at for accurate and up to date information.

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