Los Angeles councilman calls for $46M purchase of apartment complex using CARES Act funds

Cedillo says money would maintain ready-made affordable housing during the pandemic

A Los Angeles councilman is calling for the city to spend $46 million in federal aid to purchase an apartment building to protect tenants from rent hikes and potential evictions during the coronavirus pandemic.

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Under the proposal from City Councilman Gil Cedillo, a Democrat, the city of Los Angeles would pull funds from the U.S. Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act, or CARES Act, a federal relief package approved last March. Cedillo argued the expenditure would maintain ready-made affordable housing for residents affected by the pandemic.

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“The adverse impact of COVID-19 on the city’s housing and homelessness crisis is unprecedented, with hundreds of thousands of residents facing evictions and homelessness due to job loss and unemployment,” Cedillo said, according to MyNewsLA.com. “I am introducing this motion to preserve the affordable housing at Hillside Villa Apartments and keep the tenants from being forced out.”

The apartment complex, Hillside Villa, is located in Los Angeles’ Chinatown neighborhood. Cedillo’s proposal came after a 30-year affordable housing agreement for the building expired in August.

The building’s residents could face rent increases of up to $2,000 per month, according to the report. Cedillo serves as chair of the city’s Housing Committee.

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Cedillo’s proposal faces a number of obstacles. City officials have already earmarked most of the $694 million in CARES Act funds for existing needs, the Los Angeles Times reported. The apartment building’s owner, Thomas Botz, is said to be uninterested in selling the complex.

Los Angeles has imposed some of the nation’s strictest measures in a bid to curb a record spike in COVID-19 cases. Los Angeles County enacted a renewed stay-at-home order that took effect on Monday night.

The order, which will remain in place until Dec. 20, placed strict limits on business operations and social gatherings. Local business owners have been critical of restrictions ordered by officials at the local and state level.

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