Augustin Mendoza lives in a $1,100 a month apartment with his wife and another son.
He says there’s always anxiety about paying the rent these days.
They’re both professional mariachis, whose incomes have basically dried up because of the pandemic.
He hadn’t heard whether he qualified for rental relief programs.
And that’s a big part the problem, says City Councilman Kevin de León.
“There are tens of thousands of additional people who simply didn’t apply for the assistance they deserve or the assistance they’re qualified to receive,” he said.
To make matters worse, the city has been super-slow in getting checks into peoples’ hands, he says.
Some 69,000 people applied as the pandemic shut down businesses and jobs a year and a half ago.
But so far, the housing department’s only paid $68 million from a fund of more than $230 million.
“The scope and magnitude of the crisis has exceeded, clearly, the ability of the city’s infrastructure,” de León said.
Now, the city’s now partnering with the state of California to get that money into renters’ hands. On Sept. 1, they’re taking new applications to help people pay the rent and landlords stay in business.
Assemblyman Miguel Santiago, a Democrat from Los Angeles, said if you were shut out, here’s your opportunity to get back in the system.
Mendoza says that now that he knows, he’ll definitely apply.
Before the pandemic, he could book as many as 20 gigs a week for him and his son.
Now, he’ll go weeks with no gigs and no money coming in.
He’ll find out soon enough.
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Source: NBC Los Angeles