FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE-
STATEMENT FROM KEEP FAMILIES HOUSED CAMPAIGN COALITION
June 25, 2021
Francisco Dueñas, Executive Director, Housing Now!, [email protected] (habla español)
Shanti Singh, Communications & Legislative Director, Tenants Together, [email protected]
State Offers More Aid to Landlord and Tenants, But Mass Evictions Still Looming
In response to the announcement from Governor Gavin Newsom and legislative leaders to extend eviction protections and increase compensation for rent relief, the Keep Families Housed campaign coalition issued the following statement:
Millions of renters will be relieved that our state leaders have heard their pleas for more time and support before going back to what are California’s inhumane pre-pandemic eviction procedures.
For months, tenants, waiting for rental assistance, left their homes with nowhere to go because they were afraid of the June 30 eviction cliff.
Covering 100% of the rent burden, assuming funds don’t run out, and compensating landlords for what they are owed--is a critical step that was missing. Advocates hope that, fully-implemented, it will prevent the public health and economic crisis that an eviction tsunami would cause.
But today’s announcement is, unfortunately, not enough. Some tenants will be left behind, as renters face long-term challenges to staying stably housed and in their homes for the long haul. The proposal is an incomplete response to tenants’ long-term needs while commiting to an unprecedented bail out for corporate landlords that donate handsomely to political campaigns.
The reality is that renters face a long recovery, as evidenced by the 67% increase in state unemployment claims in June.
But this proposal lacks the long-term supports to make sure that no renter is left behind.
Francisco Dueñas, Executive Director, Housing Now!:
“How is three months enough time to distribute billions in rent aid, when the state has only paid out 8% of the current $619 million in requests in that same time period? This timeline does not match the reality the state faces and tenants will be left out to dry.”
Lupe Arreola, Executive Director, Tenants Together:
“What happens after the landlord gets their money? New York State required landlords to do their part and commit to freezing rents on covered units for one year as well as offer renters’ one year renewal leases. Without these protections it means that billions in taxpayer dollars will have been spent to momentarily delay, not prevent, the eviction tsunami we have all been dreading.”
Jennifer Martinez, Chief Strategy Officer, PICO California:
“ In addition to debt relief, renters need stronger forward-looking credit protections to protect their long-term housing opportunities, and cities and counties need the freedom to tailor policy to their conditions. The state’s preemption in this bill curtails various local ordinances that were recently passed that were a response to specific community needs.”
Three months from now, we can’t have landlords getting made 100% whole, and tenants still facing eviction and debt when the State’s intentions are to protect vulnerable households.
We know Californians have faced immense challenges throughout the pandemic. We’ve seen people come together, to help neighbors, to keep our state running, and to stop the spread of COVID. And we’ve seen political insiders not do their part and instead cater to lobbyists. We are at a crossroads.
We have an opportunity to come together to do what’s right, and what is healthy, for California. We hope our elected leaders strengthen this proposal to create the equitable recovery California needs.
The Keep Families Housed Coalition is a statewide campaign of tenants, policy advocates, community organizers, legal aid providers and other domain experts working for effective tenant protections during and after the COVID-19 pandemic. The coalition is anchored by Housing Now!, Tenants Together, Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment (ACCE), Leadership Counsel for Justice & Accountability, Public Advocates, Central Coast Alliance United for a Sustainable Economy (CAUSE), the Housing Rights Committee of San Francisco, SEIU 1021, PICO California, Working Partnerships USA, AFSCME 3299 and their constituent member organizations.