Wednesday, July 28, 2021

California Considering Extending Eviction Protections Last June

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SACRAMENTO: Governor. Gavin Newsom says California It will pay off all overdue rents that have piled up in the nation’s most populous state due to the fallout from the coronavirus pandemic, a promise to make landlords feel whole while giving tenants a clean slate.
What remains to be resolved is whether California will continue to prohibit evictions for unpaid rent beyond June 30, an order related to the pandemic that was intended to be temporary but is proving difficult to undo.
Federal eviction protections will also expire on June 30. California passed its own protections that apply to more people.
Newsom and legislative leaders are meeting privately to decide what to do, as part of negotiations on the state’s roughly $ 260 billion operating budget. It seems likely that an extension of the eviction ban will give California more time to spend all the money to cover unpaid rent, but landlords and tenant rights groups are arguing over how long that extension should last.
“The expectation that people will be ready to pay rent on July 1 is totally unfair,” said Kelli Lloyd, a 43-year-old single mother who says she has not worked consistently since the pandemic began in March. 2020.
Lloyd, a member of the advocacy group Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment, is supposed to pay $ 1,924 a month for a two-bedroom, two-bathroom rental-controlled apartment in the Crenshaw district of South Los Angeles. But she says she’s $ 30,000 behind after not working for most of the past year to care for her two children when daycare centers closed and schools disrupted in-person learning.
That debt will likely be covered by the government. But Lloyd said he recently lost a job at a real estate agency and has yet to find another. You are concerned that you may be evicted if your protection expires.
“Just because the state has reopened doesn’t mean that people have access to their jobs,” he said.
Meanwhile, in Sonoma County’s wine country, property manager Keith Becker says 14 renters are more than $ 100,000 behind on rent. It has put financial pressure on the owners, who, according to Becker, have “resigned.”
But they have grown weary of the seemingly endless protections, which he noted were intended to address a public health emergency and were not intended to be permanent.
“We must do our best to get back to where we were in December 2019. Anything other than that is taking advantage of a crisis,” he said.
California has $ 5.2 billion to pay people’s rent, money from multiple aid packages approved by Congress. That appears to be more than enough to cover all unpaid rent in the state, according to Jason Elliott, Newsom’s senior counsel on housing and homelessness.
But the state has been slow to distribute that money and it is unlikely that it will be able to spend it all by June 30. A report from the California Department of Housing and Community Development showed that of the $ 490 million in rental assistance applications through May 31, only $ 32 million has been paid. That doesn’t include the 12 cities and 10 counties that have their own rental assistance programs.
“It’s a challenge to set up a great new program overnight,” said Assemblyman David Chiu, a Democrat from San Francisco and president of the Assembly’s Housing and Community Development Committee. “Educating millions of struggling tenants and homeowners about what the law is has been a challenge.”
Homeowners point to the state’s rapid economic recovery as a reason not to extend the eviction moratorium much longer. California has added 495,000 new jobs since February. In April alone, California accounted for 38% of all new jobs in the US This week, Newsom lifted all restrictions on businesses, heralding the state’s grand reopening.
“We are getting back to normal,” Carlton said. “Time to get back to work. Time to pay the rent.”
While employment among medium- and high-wage jobs has surpassed pre-pandemic levels, employment rates for people making less than $ 27,000 a year are down more than 38% since January 2020, according to Opportunity Insights. , an economic tracker based at Harvard University. .
“The stock market may be fine, we may be technically reopened, but people in low-wage jobs, who are disproportionately people of color, have yet to come back,” said Madeline Howard, senior attorney at the Western Center on Law and Poverty.
Some housing advocates are calling on the state to maintain the ban on evictions until the unemployment rate among low-wage workers has dropped to pre-pandemic levels. It’s similar to how state officials would impose restrictions on businesses in counties where COVID-19 infection rates were highest, while those with lower infection rates could reopen more quickly.
Advocates say they were encouraged when Newsom told Univision earlier this month that he “definitely” wants to extend eviction protections beyond June 30.
“We are cautiously optimistic,” said Francisco Dueñas, executive director of Housing Now California. “We definitely need these protections as part of our recovery.”
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