L.A. Council approves $50 million for utility payment assistance program

L.A. Council approves $50 million for utility payment assistance program

The Los Angeles City Council  voted Tuesday, Oct. 27, to provide a total of $50 million in federal relief funding to assist low-income residents with utility costs amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Our low-wage workers continue to suffer in silence,” said Council President Martinez, who authored the motion to create the program. “They are the first to put themselves and their families at risk through their essential work. I am unapologetically dedicated during this pandemic to help them get whatever resources they need to hang on and stay in their homes.”

The COVID-19 Utility Grant Program, to be run in partnership with the Department of Water and Power, will distribute funding by a lottery system but will prioritize funding for people affected by the pandemic who are already enrolled in the LADWP’s low-income assistance program.

Los Angeles city residents who are DWP customers making 50% of the area median income or less will be eligible to receive $500 to assist with utility costs, which includes gas, cellular phone, wifi and internet/cable services.

The program is expected to serve up to 100,000 households, according to Martinez.

The California Employment Development Department stated Los Angeles County’s unemployment rate fell in September, but it’s still at 15.1% and the labor force decreased during that time.

“Our low-income communities have demonstrated tremendous resilience and strength during this national public health emergency,” Councilman Curren Price said. “COVID-19 has hit the working poor and people of color the hardest, and it is up to their government to put forward a range of solutions that mitigate the challenges of this remarkable time in human history.”

Applicants for the funding must be a DWP residential customer with an online account during the enrollment period, which starts Monday and ends Nov. 15.

More information about applications and the Utility Grant Project is at ladwp.com. A Utility Grant Program Link will be available there soon, Martinez said.

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