LBC Funds Legal Help Against Wrongful Eviction
By Dianne Anderson
Another round of $200,000 in funding hopes to prevent some Long Beach renters from becoming homeless — or, as research indicates, from what happens when people are forced to choose between paying rent and their health.
Following the end of Los Angeles County’s pandemic eviction moratorium last month, the city is preparing the recent allocation to help renters at risk of wrongful evictions stay in their homes by increasing access to legal counsel.
Last week, the city announced the extended contract agreement with the County of Los Angeles and Stay Housed LA, which provides legal assistance for economically hard-hit renters due to the pandemic.
“Many residents are still recovering from the financial hardships brought on by the pandemic,” said Mayor Rex Richardson. “This program has already provided legal guidance to hundreds of Long Beach tenants, and the extended contract will connect even more people to the services they need to avoid wrongful tenant evictions and potential homelessness for at-risk residents.”
The funding, approved by Mayor and City Council, pulls from Long Beach emergency funds for homeless prevention, and extends the current city contract through June 30, or until those funds are depleted.
Earlier this year, the Long Beach City Council also supported “upstream homeless prevention strategies” through the city’s Health and Human Services Department programs with an impact team focused on youth and family services.
Other moves include a recent City Council vote to engage Long Beach City College, Cal State University Long Beach, and Cal State University Dominguez Hills to help reduce housing insecurity for students.
Chelsey Magallon, a spokesperson for the city, said for renters who need help, the city recommends they visit www.stayhousedla.org to complete an application for referral and support before calling.
“While in comparison to the funding available at the height of the pandemic, which was provided by state and federal sources, $200,000 may not seem like very much, it is however coming at a very important time when eviction moratoriums have sunset. This funding will help protect renters as measures prompted by the pandemic come to an end,” said Magallon in an email.
The city Council expects to be in talks around tenant protection ordinances, and explore what other jurisdictions are implementing, she added. Workforce development programs are also assisting the unemployed back into employment, or increasing existing employment to stabilize those at risk of homelessness.
All Long Beach Emergency Rental Assistance Program applications that have been fully completed and approved, have been processed and payments issued.
“Most denials were due to duplicate applications being received for a given person and/or unit, as well as applicants who were not responsive to multiple requests for documentation. To date, the City has issued approximately $71 million in LB-ERAP assistance, which is approximately 99% of the allocated funding for this Program,” she said.
At this time, the state’s COVID-19 Rent Relief program is no longer accepting applications, but according to California Senate Bill 115, qualifying applicants that submitted before the March 31 deadline will still receive assistance with past-due rent and, or, utility bills.
State legislators have also introduced other bills this session to address some common problems that renters face, including AB 12 (Assemblymember Matt Haney, D-San Francisco), which bans landlords from charging security deposits greater than one month’s rent.
Tracking the true extent of evictions is also the goal of SB 395 (Sen. Aisha Wahab, D-Hayward). If passed, it calls for a statewide eviction database, requiring all landlords to report all evictions to the new database. Wahab’s other bill, SB 398, Fair Chance Access to Housing Act would, for the most part, prevent landlords from asking or basing rental decisions on past criminal history.
But besides the threat of homelessness, housing insecurity has another apparent side effect.
Especially in Black and Brown communities where the death rate from health issues typically runs two to three times that of whites, many are making the unhealthy choice to delay healthcare to keep a roof over their heads.
One recent UCLA survey finds one-third of those with housing affordability issues delayed needed medical care. Statewide, the California Health Interview Survey found that three million people, the majority of which couldn’t afford to pay rent, and one-third of adults put off paying for health care to pay the rent.
“Housing issues are public health issues because of how they affect people’s health and well-being,” said Sean Tan, a senior public administration analyst at UCLA CHPR. “People struggling to pay for housing have been shown to cut back on health care and basic necessities, leading to poorer overall health.”
Among their findings, 14.2% of Latinos and 14.0% of Black or African American adults struggled with housing costs, versus 6.7% of white adults. They stressed that renter eviction protections and access and funding for more affordable housing is the answer.
“There is an urgent need to address the issue of housing affordability in California,” said Ninez A. Ponce, PhD, MPP, director of UCLA CHPR and principal investigator of CHIS. “State representatives and policymakers must prioritize California’s marginalized communities, who are struggling to gain access to basic human needs.”
To access the form online, see http://www.stayhousedla.org/referral
For more resources for homeowners, tenants and landlords, see the city website at
For more information on the City’s affordable housing and assistance programs, the community can visit