With LA eviction moratorium is ending, city seeks to make eviction defense program permanent

LOS ANGELES — The Los Angeles City Council voted Friday to explore making the city’s Eviction Defense Program — created in 2020 in response to increased housing insecurity during the COVID-19 pandemic — a permanent program.

The city’s long-standing eviction moratorium due to COVID-19 hardship is set to expire at the end of January.

Through the program, the city contracts with the Legal Aid Foundation Los Angeles to provide eviction prevention services such as rental assistance, eviction interventions, emergency legal assistance and support services for tenant stability.

The item was brought forth in September by Nury Martinez, the former council president who resigned last week for her involvement in the City Hall racism scandal.

Several people who called into public comment blasted the council for continuing to conduct business with Councilmen Kevin de León and Gil Cedillo — who also took part in the leaked conversation from October 2021. Although León and Cedillo are still on the council, they continued to be absent Friday, even as items they and Martinez brought forward continued to be considered.

The council could use funding from the United to House LA ballot measure — if voters pass it in November — to boost the Eviction Defense Program. The measure would create an additional 4% tax on sales of commercial and residential properties that exceed $5 million, establish a fund to collect the additional tax revenue and allocate revenue to housing projects intended for low-income individuals.

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The city has so far funded the program through a “variety of sources” that include federal funding, according to the motion.

The council instructed the city’s Housing Department to report on what expansion of the program might look like with funding from revenue generated by the ballot measure, if it passes.

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