Since our last update just barely 24 hours ago, there have been several more major COVID-19-related announcements from various city agencies. They include:
New Angeleno Card Financial Assistance Program
Yesterday, LA Mayor Eric Garcetti announced the launch of a new “Angeleno Card” emergency financial assistance program for low-income households. The card program has a very limited application window, however, and applications will only available from April 14 – 16, between the hours of 8:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. The program can provide qualifying households with debit cards pre-loaded with up to $1,500, depending on household size and pre-COVID-19 income.
According to the announcement:
Your immigration status is not a factor, in order to qualify for this assistance. However, you (if you live alone) or your household must still meet all three of these requirements, in order to qualify:
1) live in the City of Los Angeles
2) *before* the coronavirus crisis broke out, you must already have had a total annual household income that fell below the current federal poverty level for your household size (see chart on the HCID website), and…
3) you must have experienced a deeper economic crisis *since* the coronavirus crisis broke out, where you or at least one member of your household has either lost a job, or lost at least 50% of your income.”
Please note that applications MUST be made online, through the City of LA Housing + Community Investment Department (HCID) website, at https://hcidla.lacity.org/, or by phone at (213) 252-3040, between 8:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m., and through tomorrow (Thursday, April 16) only.
Also, if you’re considering applying, do be aware that the announcement sparked a huge amount of interest (more than 56,000 applications), which quickly crashed the website yesterday. An HCID message later in the day said, “HCIDLA requests your patience while we improve the site capacity. Our site is overwhelmed by the thousands of people attempting to access the application at the same time. We apologize for the inconvenience. Try again later. All City of Los Angeles qualified applicants will have the same opportunity, as the final recipients will be based on random drawing.”
Relaxed Parking Restrictions Extended to Match New Safer at Home Dates
Garcetti also announced yesterday that the city will continue to relax its enforcement of Preferential Parking District rules for the remainder of the “Safer at Home” period, which was also recently extended until May 15. (The parking enforcement relaxation was originally announced several weeks ago, but was at first scheduled to end today, April 15.)
According to the LA Department of Transportation:
“Effective Friday, April 3, LADOT will not issue citations on vehicles displaying a recently-expired annual or visitor permit within the corresponding Preferential Parking District. This grace period will extend for two weeks after the expiration of a permit. LADOT will also email a two-week, temporary parking permit free-of-charge to be printed at home for those that have renewed their annual or visitor permit online but may not receive them before the existing permit expires.
LADOT will continue to enforce time limits within Preferential Parking Districts and vehicles exceeding posted time limits that do not display a valid or recently expired permit will be subject to citation.
While certain parking regulations are relaxed, others remain enforced to ensure that emergency services and other city functions continue operation. See the list below for full details regarding enforcement:
LADOT has RELAXED enforcement for the following categories:
- Residential street sweeping
- Expired registration on a vehicle
- Peak/rush hour and gridlock zone parking restrictions
- No ticket/tow for abandoned vehicles and overnight parking
- Vehicles displaying recently expired permits within preferential parking districts will have a two-week grace period following the expiration to renew
- No parking fine increases until after June 1
- Extended grace period for people dropping off or picking up
- mmediate extensions on all deadlines for payments until June 1
- LADOT will supply a temporary, print-at-home permit to residents within a preferential parking district who have renewed their permit but will not receive the new hangtag before their current permit expires
Enforcement CONTINUES for:
- Metered parking
- Time limits within preferential parking districts for vehicles without a valid or recently-expired permit
- Posted time limits zones in residential areas
- Posted temporary no-parking for repaving, street repair, and other street maintenance
- No blocking emergency access (alleyways, fire hydrants, etc.)
- Colored curb zones
- Parking restrictions for City-owned lots”
Metro to Run Buses and Trains on Sunday Schedules
Due to reduced ridership, Metro announced that beginning this coming Sunday, April 19, city buses and trains “will begin running a modified Sunday schedule every day of the week.”
According to a statement on the Metro website:
“We’re doing this to provide a more predictable level of service for those making essential trips during the COVID-19 pandemic and to adjust our service to current ridership. This is important to stress: we’re still providing bus and rail service to every community that is currently served by Metro.
• From Monday through Friday, we’ll also run some Rapid, Express and Local bus lines that normally do not run on Sundays
• On weekdays, most trains will run every 12 minutes between 6 a.m. and 6 p.m. and every 20 minutes at other times with last trains leaving terminal stations around midnight.
• On both Saturdays and Sundays, Metro buses and trains will run on their regular Sunday schedule.
• Metro will be monitoring service in case adjustments need to be made.
We’re asking riders to take the time this week to plan their transit commutes next week. All Metro bus and rail timetables can be found here. You can also consult the trip planner at metro.net or Google Maps — both allow you to plan future trips. Use the “leave now” tab on both to choose the day and time of your trip.”
Details for each specific Metro line can also be found at the schedule link above.
City Revenues Down, Will “Undoubtedly Strain” Budget
As Angelenos continue to stay home, and city income from various kinds of taxes has either dropped or been officially delayed, City Controller ron Galperin this morning released a Revised Revenue Forecast, “predicting a $231 million decine in revenue” compared to previous estimates for the city this year, and “as much as a $598 million decline from his previous estimate next fiscal year.”
“The City is facing an unprecedented crisis due to the coronavirus pandemic, and our revenue outlook is much darker than it was even a month ago,” said Galperin in a statement accompanying the announcement. But he also noted that, “While these struggles are not unique to Los Angeles, our City is in a better position than most municipalities because of the diversity of our revenue streams and healthy Reserve Fund balance.”
At the same time, however, he said, “…reductions like we’re seeing will undoubtedly strain our ability to provide high quality services and require some very difficult budgeting decisions this year and in the future. Protecting the welfare of Angelenos always has to be our primary concern, but it’s also essential to ensure the City is fiscally responsible and secure.”
The announcement went on to say:
“Galperin’s Revised Revenue Forecast features updated estimates to help promote sober and responsible City budget deliberations, which will begin after Mayor Garcetti releases his budget proposal on April 20. Here are some highlights from the Revised Revenue Forecast:
– The coronavirus shutdown has resulted in an overall decline in City revenue — down $231 million this fiscal year (ending June 30, 2020); between $194 million and $598 million next fiscal year. In just one month, there has been a significant decline in projected General Fund revenue:
- This fiscal year’s revenue estimate is now $6.38 billion, a $231 million — 3.5 percent — decrease from the previous March 1 estimate of $6.61 billion. Even with this revision, Los Angeles is not facing a cash flow crisis as Galperin is still projecting 2.3 percent growth over last year’s General Fund receipts and Los Angeles will likely receive state and federal funds due to the coronavirus pandemic.
- For fiscal year 2021, the revenue decline from the previous estimate is a range between $194 million and $598 million, depending on the length of the current shutdown and how long it takes for the economy to recover from this crisis.
– Travel and tourism revenue will fall by 70 percent in the final quarter of this fiscal year: The global pandemic has crushed the travel and tourism industry, cutting hotel and home sharing occupancy dramatically. Transient Occupancy Tax from hotels and home sharing will drop by $61 million this fiscal year and up to $80 million in 2021.
– Business and Sales Taxes are down, and will likely fall next year: While the revised projections for Business Tax and Sales Tax revenues will decline this fiscal year, they are lagging indicators that will be impacted much more heavily in the year to come as thousands of businesses, both large and small, have closed their doors in an attempt to slow the spread of COVID-19. For the next fiscal year, Business Tax revenue could drop by as much as $85 million, while Sales Tax could take a $67 million hit.
– Expenses will eclipse revenue growth this year due to the increased cost of employee salaries and benefits, with additional short-term expenses for the City’s response to COVID-19.
See lacontroller.org/revisedrevenue or https://lacontroller.org/financial-reports/revised-revenue-forecast-2020-2021/ for the full forecast with graphic visualizations.
GWNC Virtual Town Hall
Meanwhile, if you’d like to hear more about the city’s COVID-19 responses, along with other updates from local officials, don’t forget to join the Greater Wilshire Neighborhood Council tonight at 6 p.m. for an online Town Hall presentation.
GWNC President Caroline Labiner Moser will welcome representatives from Mayor Garcetti’s Office, City Council Districts 4 and 5, L. A. County Supervisor Sheila Kuehl’s Office, LAPD’s Wilshire and Olympic Divisions, and LA Metro. GWNC Vice President Max Kirkham will moderate the discussion.
If you have specific questions for the guests, you can submit them in advance using the form at http://www.greaterwilshire.org/townhall or e-mail them to [email protected]. (Note that the number of questions, and the length of the Q&A period, may be limited at the discretion of the hosts.)
You can watch the event live at https://us04web.zoom.us/j/848982068, and more information is available at https://mailchi.mp/ae35eef5cff0/20200415-town-hall