Rent relief extension approved for Inglewood residents

City leaders criticized over use of funds

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City of Inglewood council members sitting at the dais at a virtual meeting. Photo is a screenshot of the city’s livestream.

Rucker Schantz, Community News Reporter

Inglewood city council members approved a one-month extension on the COVID-19 rent relief program for city residents.

The 36-minute meeting late last month was also punctuated by a spirited public comment period in which concerned residents called in to criticize the city’s handling of funds.

The COVID-19 rent relief program impacts eligible participants who are of very low- to extremely low-income status, detailed on pages 14 and 15 of the city’s rent relief manual. The two months of partial rent payments were extended to three. 

The relief manual states that participants “may pay a minimum of 30% of their total income toward monthly rent, total tenant payment.” The difference between tenants’ income payment towards rent and the approved rent price will be paid with city assistance.

The relief program is given on a need-basis. The same manual states that “priority will be given to those below 30% Area Median Income.”

Participants may not qualify for the COVID-19 rent relief program if they are already receiving rental assistance from a federal source such as Section 8.

District 2 councilman Alex Padilla stressed the importance of not only applying for these relief opportunities. “These are the things that we’re doing as your leaders, as your elected officials, to help our community, our residents make it through these tough times,” Padilla said, adding that completing the census is critical to getting necessary funding to cities like Inglewood.

The agenda items were not the only point of interest throughout the meeting.

Three concerned citizens called in to make their grievances known and criticized the handling of city resources by Mayor James Butts and the rest of the city council.

For instance, Billion Godsun of the Africa Town Coalition criticized the funding of police dogs, saying it “is absolutely money that can be defunded to help the homeless situation in the city.”

During the meeting, Butts did not mince words responding to the criticism. “This is just foolishness when people call and they say things like that. That’s what we come to, people that look to criticize, they wanna criticize the city giving people money. That’s ridiculous to me,” Butts said.

Butts emphasized at the meeting that the Inglewood City Council is steadfast, and able to provide financial help in times of distress due to previous council decisions: “That’s something every city cannot say. That’s something every city cannot do.”

“We’re providing full services for the city of Inglewood,” Butts said. “We can take care of and make it through a rainy day, and in this case, a pandemic.”

Towards the close of the meeting, Butts further expressed his discomfort with the amount of caller criticism, implying that they were using scare tactics to try and “panic” residents: “That’s why it really bothers me.”