This week, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors launched Stay Housed L.A. County, a countywide initiative to provide legal assistance and support for tenants facing eviction amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
The launch included the release of StayHousedLA.org, a website connecting tenants with useful information about their rights, workshops for residents who need legal assistance, and other support. Stay Housed L.A. County is a partnership between the county of Los Angeles, legal aid groups and community-based organizations to provide emergency support to tenants in need.
Virtual Know Your Rights workshops will also be offered by participating community organizations to provide L.A. County residents with critical information about permanent and emergency tenant protections that can help tenants facing eviction or other challenges related to their rental housing. Community organizations will provide targeted ongoing support to help tenants with case management support.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has had unprecedented and devastating impacts on far too many hard-working individuals and families across the county of Los Angeles,” said Los Angeles County Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas. “During this time – the last thing Angelenos should be worried about is losing their home. That is why we are standing up Stay Housed L.A. County.”
“L.A. County, along with a number of cities, the state, and the federal government have all passed protections for tenants facing eviction due to the pandemic,” said Los Angeles County Supervisor Sheila Kuehl, who authored the motion authorizing the creation of Stay Housed L.A. County. “These protections only work, however, when people know their rights and can take advantage of the legal protections. That’s the mission of Stay Housed L.A. County: To provide the information and legal representation people need to keep from getting kicked out of their homes while we weather this very challenging time.”
“Eviction can be an incredibly devastating event that families never recover from,” said Rafael Carbajal, acting director of Los Angeles County Department of Consumer and Business Affairs. “It’s so much greater than individuals losing their homes. Stay Housed L.A. County represents the County’s enhanced efforts to stem an eviction crisis and our commitment to working with community partners to help our tenants preserve healthy and stable households in L.A. County. I applaud the Board of Supervisors’ leadership in this ground-breaking initiative and hope to see our most vulnerable renters take advantage of this most critical public service.”
“Legal Aid Foundation of Los Angeles is a proud member of the Renter’s Right to Counsel – LA, and we believe that Stay Housed L.A. County is an excellent first step to getting eviction prevention and defense representation to all Angelenos who need it,” said LAFLA executive director Silvia Argueta. “LAFLA is pleased to be working with our partners including Bet Tzedek, Community Legal Aid SoCal, Housing Rights Center, Inner City Law Center, Neighborhood Legal Services of Los Angeles County, Public Counsel, BASTA Universal!, and Eviction Defense Network, as well as tenant organizations.”
“In these unprecedented times we need unprecedented solutions,” said Shane Murphy Goldsmith, president and CEO of the Liberty Hill Foundation. “Stay Housed L.A. County is a first-of-its-kind collaborative effort between tenant organizers, legal service providers, and the county to keep tenants in their homes and off the streets. We are proud to partner with trusted, community-based organizations to reach and educate hundreds of thousands of tenants about their rights and, as well as connect them to legal services to help renters exercise their rights.”
Participating community-based organizations include: Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment (ACCE), Communities for a Better Environment, Coalition for Economic Survival, East Yard Communities for Environmental Justice, Eastside LEADS, Inquilinos Unidos, Los Angeles Center for Community Law and Action, Los Angeles Community Action Network (LACAN), Los Angeles Tenants Union, and Strategic Actions for a Just Economy (SAJE).
According to a UCLA study, about 365,000 L.A. County residents are at risk of evictions due to the COVID-19 economic recession. The Board of Supervisors extended the Los Angeles County Temporary Eviction Moratorium through Sept. 30, which instituted temporary tenant protections related to COVID-19 countywide, excluding jurisdictions that have enacted their own protections.