RENTAL REGISTRY MOTION
Far too many residents of our City are at risk of falling into homelessness. Study after study has proven that prevention of homelessness is far more cost effective for a city than rehousing the same person when they become homeless. Greater housing security also creates additional positive health and life outcomes - youth who experience housing insecurity have additional lifelong impacts and the unending stress of poverty and discrimination which includes disproportionate eviction rates have been shown to be a contributor to higher death rates among communities of color.
The COVID-19 pandemic has increased this pipeline of housing vulnerability. The City must prepare now to be able to quickly assist residents with the fallout when the eviction moratorium ends, to ensure that highest risk residents are helped quickly and cost effectively. In 2019 the City created the Emergency Renters Relief Program, and in 2020
recreated as the COVID-19 Emergency Renter's Relief Program. Both programs and the subsequently privately funded Mayoral initiative of the Angeleno card had many more applications than the fund total amount could support.
In order to better prepare for the waves of housing needs, the City must acknowledge that there is a permanent citywide need for rental assistance and create a standing registry for residents who need help. Residents signing up for the registry should be able to securely request help from the City. In return the City will be able to triage assistance to those who will need the most help paying back rent and avoiding future eviction.
Instead of a randomized lottery system created after new funds are found, the City must develop a permanent, transparent and equitable registry program which prioritizes all future funds to residents based on criteria directly correlated to the pandemic and institutional poverty such as communities which rank highest on scales such as the Urban Institute's Emergency Rental Assistance Priority Index, status as essential workers, and households with children living below the poverty line to ensure distribution of funds is always directed first to the most vulnerable among us.
Additionally, residents deserve to be able to see what tier of aid they fall under at any given time and understand the available funding as it changes so they can plan realistically instead of standing by hoping to "win a lottery" of aid that is likely to be insufficient to meet all the need.
After development of the registry the City should work to coordinate with any existing programs for financial support from low interest loans to non-profit funds to County support programs and use the known universe of need to provide accurate estimates and requests for funding needs to state and federal programs.
I THEREFORE MOVE the City Council instruct the Housing and Community Investment Department to report back on the creation of a Renters Relief Registry including development of a ranking system to score applications by where any City renter can register to receive aid based on a prioritized list, and also get regular notification of any other sources of rental and housing assistance known to the City of Los Angeles, including a report back on total funding and staffing needs to maintain such registry and any grants or programs which should be used to start the program; and,
I FURTHER MOVE that the aggregate data from the Registry be shared publicly once a quarter and included in the Housing and Community Investment Department's annual report to help provide better information to policy makers, researchers and the residents of the City regarding the full depth of the housing crisis in the City of Los Angeles.