Things That Matter

Los Angeles Launches Application For Rent Assistance Because Of COVID

Update: Los Angeles residents have a chance to ear rent assistance through a new program set forth by the city. Through Friday (July 17) Los Angeles residents are able to apply for rent assistance if they are facing financial injury from COVID-19.

Los Angeles has created the Emergency Rental Assistance Subsidy Program to help Angelenos struggling during the pandemic.

The program does not guarantee that all Angeleno households that need assistance will get it. Instead, 50,000 households in the Los Angeles area will receive assistance based on a lottery system. The City of LA is allocating $103 million to help with those they choose for the rental assistance.

“We know people throughout the city of Los Angeles need assistance, particularly our working poor and disenfranchised communities, who are hit hardest by both the health and economic impacts of COVID-19,” L.A. City Council President Nury Martinez told Los Angeles Times. “Demand will be high and serve as a reminder that the federal government must offer billions more in housing assistance if we are going to help all who need assistance to remain in their homes during and after this pandemic.”

If you need assistance, you can apply online or call the application hotline, at (844) 944-1868, between 8 a.m. and 10 p.m. Renters with hearing or speech impairments can call (844) 325-1398 during the same hours.

Original: The Coronavirus pandemic has hit the economy extremely hard. Millions of people have lost their jobs due to the pandemic – in fact, we’re seeing figures not seen since the Great Depression during the 1930s.

The Latino community is particularly vulnerable to unemployment as many of the jobs being lost are in the service sector as shops, hotels, and restaurants close their doors amid widespread stay-at-home orders. According to a recent poll, more than one in three Latino households have experienced job loss due to the virus.

Obviously, these job losses are making it nearly impossible for people to afford daily essentials like food and medicines, let alone rent. If you find yourself struggling to pay next month’s rent – here’s what you need to know.

Record-breaking job losses and uncertain futures are forcing people to make tough decisions.

Across the country, tenant advocates and housing lawyers are sounding alarms that an increasing number of renters will not be able to pay rent on May 1st. What’s more, they are concerned many renters will lose their homes as suspensions on evictions phase out and rent relief is not widely available.

“We know that when the economy goes into decline, people of color always bear the brunt,’’ said Teresa Candori, communications director for the National Urban League told NBC Latino. “We will be fighting to make sure the most vulnerable communities are not an afterthought.”

In the last month, more than 16 million people applied for jobless benefits, according to the Labor Department. That number is expected to increase, and the unemployment rate may ultimately reach 32%.

Even though the coronavirus has significantly altered most aspects of daily life, one thing that hasn’t changed is the cost of living. Though some workers are fortunate to still have their jobs, many – especially people of color – will be forced to make tough decisions about which bills get paid.

First, you need to protect yourself and know your rights as a tenant.

It’s always best to be prepared. Even outside of this pandemic, you should know what rights you have as a renter. The laws are different from city to city and state to state; the best thing to do is google something like “tenants rights (NAME OF YOUR TOWN)” and find a local organization to connect with.

Right now, many governments have issues eviction moratoriums. For example, New York suspended evictions for residential and commercial tenants affected by the coronavirus for 90 days. Housing courts are closed so you can’t be taken to court for nonpayment of rent for the duration of the COVID-19 crisis.

Similarly, in California, there is a moratorium on evictions for failure to pay rent through the end of May. However, you have to prove that you’re unable to pay rent due to the consequences of the Covid-19 pandemic. You also have to write your landlord within seven days of rent being due, declaring your inability to pay and providing an explanation as to why.

Talk to your landlord about setting up a payment plan.

Credit: Pixabay

Any reasonable landlord knows that people are going to have a hard time making rent. A few have even waived payments for April in recognition of that fact, and while your landlord is not likely among them, they might accept partial payment or agree to set up a payment plan. That conversation should be started as soon as possible.

There’s no way to hide from your landlord—you should reach out now if you think you’re going to have a problem making rent by May 1, and you shouldn’t avoid talking to your landlord if you haven’t been able to pay for April.

If your landlord does agree to some kind of payment plan, make sure that the precise terms are documented and signed off on by both you and your landlord. This should include how much your modified rent will be, how long that change in rent will last, and whether you will be expected to pay back any deferred payments.

Also, it’s important to know that you have a bit of leverage given the economic situation.

So aside from the many eviction moratoriums enacted across the country, even if your landlord could evict you for not paying rent – who are they going to replace you with? Right now, amid a global health pandemic, isn’t exactly an ideal time to be looking for new tenants. And with so many people out of work struggling to pay their current rent, there’s not many likely new applications out there either.

Now, you should definitely use this leverage if you have to but don’t be too pushy with it – you want the landlord on your side.

Lastly, look for help and stay on top of the news.

In March, the federal government passed a $2.2 trillion stimulus package that included direct payments of $1,200 to millions of Americans. However, that aid left out millions of others – largely already vulnerable, immigrant populations. You can check to see if you’re eligible and the status of your stimulus payment here.

If you’re in California, the state has made available stimulus payments of up to $500 to undocumented residents. And cities from Oakland to Dallas and Miami have all instituted programs to help those affected by the virus pay for their housing expenses.

You may also consider finding help from local food banks (however, those too are under extreme strain) or from mutual aid groups, where strangers help those in need.

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Peru’s President Survives Impeachment Over Handling Of Coronavirus But What Happens Next?

Things That Matter

Peru’s President Survives Impeachment Over Handling Of Coronavirus But What Happens Next?

Chris Bouroncle / Getty Images

Earlier this month, Peru’s Congress moved to initiate impeachment proceedings against the country’s president over his alleged involvement with a singer involved in a fraud case. However, Peru’s struggle to contain the Coroanvirus outbreak also became a focal point of the impeachment proceedings.

Although, President Martín Vizcarra survived the impeachment vote this week, his country is still spiraling out of control in terms of the Covid-19 pandemic. Peru now has one of the world’s highest mortality rates, made worse by political strife and Peruvians are wondering where the country goes next amid all the turmoil.

Peru’s President survived his impeachment trial but he still faces serious hurdles in the road ahead.

What started out as an alleged fraud and corruption case, devolved into a sort of referendum on Vizcarra’s handling of the country’s failed Coronavirus response. The Coronavirus tragedy has fueled political insurrection. On Sept. 18, an opportunistic legislature tried to oust the president, who has been dogged by accusations of misusing public funds and then covering up the scandal.

However, the revolt fell flat. Just 32 lawmakers voted to remove Vizcarra, glaringly short of the 87-vote impeachment threshold, which is a good thing. Regime change on top of a public health hecatomb might have pushed the afflicted nation that much closer to collapse.

The decision came after long hours of debate in which legislators blasted Vizcarra but also questioned whether a rushed impeachment process would only create more turmoil in the middle of a health and economic crisis.

“It’s not the moment to proceed with an impeachment which would add even more problems to the tragedy we are living,” lawmaker Francisco Sagasti said.

The original impeachment case stemmed from his alleged involvement with a singer who faced serious charges of fraud.

President Vizcarra faced the challenge to his leadership after the Congress approved a motion to start impeachment proceedings against him over leaked audio tapes and alleged ties to a singer involved in a fraud case.

Lawmakers in Peru’s Congress, a mosaic of parties from the left and right with no overall majority, heard recordings of two private conversations between Vizcarra and government officials about meetings with Richard Cisneros, a little-known singer.

Vizcarra told reporters that the new challenge represented “a plot to destabilise the government.” “I am not going to resign,” he said. “I have a commitment to Peru and I will fulfill it until the last day of my mandate.”

Presidential elections are due to be held next year and Vizcarra has already said he will not run again.

But given Peru’s failed Covid-19 response, the president also faces serious doubts in his abilities to bring the country back from the brink.

Latin America has been devastated by the pandemic and it’s only been exacerbated by the total obliteration of growing wealth across the region – as millions are left out of work. The pandemic has largely undone decades of hard work that helped pull millions of Latin Americans out of poverty.

And Peru once the showpiece of Latin American economies — growing at a pacesetting 6.1% a year between 2002 and 2013 and lifting 6.4 million out of poverty — the country saw gross domestic product fall 30% in the second quarter, and is likely to finish the year aound 17% poorer before rebounding next year, according to Bloomberg Economics. Despite generous aid to the poor and strict social distancing rules that drew international praise, the Andean country has been burdened by the pandemic with one of the world’s highest mortality rates.

The possibility of a president being impeached amid the pandemic, had many in the U.S. wondering if we could do the same.

In the U.S., Donald Trump has left much of the country to fend for itself as the pandemic ravages state after state. There has been little in the way of a national plan for how to overcome the outbreak. In fact, many lies about the virus, treatment, and contagion have come directly from the president himself.

He’s even instructed the CDC to stop sharing pandemic-related information with the public, and instead to send all data directly to the White House.

Donald Trump and his administration have sowed division and false information that has resulted in the deaths of more than 200,000 Americans and months of on and off again quarantine orders that seem to have no end in sight. With policies like this, it’s no surprise that some are seriously considering a second impeachment trial.

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You Can Order A ‘Taco Vacuna’ And ‘La Cura’ At This Covid 19-Themed Taqueria

Culture

You Can Order A ‘Taco Vacuna’ And ‘La Cura’ At This Covid 19-Themed Taqueria

Tacovid: SaborViral / Facebook

Pandemia. Brote. Vacuna. La Peste. Although you may find these terms in a glossary about the Covid-19 outbreak, that’s not what these words actually refer to. Instead, they’re options on the menu at a Mexican taqueria called “Tacovid: Sabor Viral”, a perhaps surprisingly very successful Coronavirus-themed restaurant.

Although to many having a Covid-themed taqueria may seem morbid or disrespectful or perhaps gross – I mean who wants to order a plague taco? – the taqueria is making light of a very serious situation with humor. Something that several other businesses have done since the pandemic began.

”Tacovid: Sabor Viral” is the Mexican taqueria going viral – pun intended – for its Covid-themed menu.

Ok…virus-themed tacos don’t exactly sound appetizing. Especially, as we’re still in the midst of a very real pandemic. But one 23-year-old man in the Mexican city of León, who was forced to close down his dance studio because of Coronavirus, is counting on a Covid-themed restaurant – and so far he’s been surprised by its success.

Brandon Velázquez converted his dance academy into a taquería at the end of July, and given that Mexico and the rest of the world was – and is – in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic decided to call it Tacovid Sabor Viral.

“I had to close my dance academy during the pandemic [but] then an opportunity arose to return to the same place, however, people still did not go out for fear of getting infected.” he told the newspaper El Universal.

“I had always wanted to open a taqueria and, at the end of July, the opportunity to do so occurred. It was how I took advantage of the moment to create this business with a coronavirus theme,” he added.

Items on the menu are named after – you guessed it – the Coronavirus and don’t sound like anything you’d willfully choose to order.

The young entrepreneur detailed the name of each dish, taking full advantage of the Coronavirus theme.

“We have around 12 different dishes, among them are the ‘Tacovid’; we have ‘Forty’, ‘Quesanitizing’, ‘Pandemic’, ‘Outbreak’, and many others. The price varies depending on the dish you order,” he told El Universal.

In addition to themed dishes, the servers also fit the Coronavirus-theme.

When the pandemic hit Mexico, the government urged Mexicans to observe “su sana distancia” and the now common mascot – Susana Distancia – was born.

“In the restaurant, a waitress dressed as a nurse with the name of ‘Susana’ takes orders and works the tables, referring to the healthy distance campaign that was implemented as a precautionary measure,” he says.

To his surprise – and honestly mine as well – the taqueria has been very successful.

Brandon told El Universal that he’s been pleasantly surprised by the support he has received from customers. “I’m surprised because we have had really good sales, despite the circumstances, we have had a lot of support by the community and we’ve already expanded to have two locations.”

“Customers are funny about the theme we are using in the business, and they are delighted with the dishes we are offering. They enjoy it and have a good time,” added Brandon.

Things are looking so good for Brandon and his Covid-themed taqueria, that he’s looking to expand the food business and add new dishes to the menu. “There is always the idea of new names for other dishes that we want to include in the menu.”

Brandon also said that he’s looking to build out a business model so the restaurant could expand to other parts of the country as a franchise.

Apparently, people are really into Covid-themed foods, as this isn’t the first place that a shop as cashed in on the pandemic. Back in April, a panadería was selling out of Covid-themed baked goods so quickly, they couldn’t keep the shelves stocked.

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