STATE EVICTION MORATORIUM EXTENDED – LOCAL RESOURCES AVAILABLE
By Assemblymember Phil Ting
The Bay Area had a housing affordability crisis before the onset of COVID-19, and income and job losses have pushed many to the brink of homelessness. A recent U.S. Census Bureau survey found that nearly two million adult Californians are behind on their rent. State budget officials estimate they owe a total of $400 million in back rent, and federal and independent estimates put that figure at more than $1 billion.
In response, your state and local governments are taking action to stave off evictions and keep people housed. Nonprofit organizations are also busier than ever, helping those at risk of eviction and foreclosure and educating tenants as to their rights.
Senate Bill (SB) 91, which was signed into law in January, extends our state’s eviction moratorium to June 30, preventing residents from being evicted if they are unable to pay rent due to COVID-19. Tenants must pay 25% of rent owed from September 2020 through June 2021 to qualify for the protections included in the bill.
SB-91 also created the State Rental Assistance Program with $2.6 billion in federal funds to help both tenants and landlords pay off debt. This program helps those tenants most at risk of being evicted and also helps property owners avoid foreclosure. Landlords have to forgive 20% of rent to qualify for subsidies that will cover the remaining 80%. If a landlord refuses to participate in the program, renters are able to apply to get direct assistance. The application for this program will be available by March 15 at housingiskey.com.
While your state government has gone above and beyond federal protections signed by President Biden on his first day in office, your San Francisco local government and non-profits stand ready to offer even more assistance. The San Francisco Rent Board, part of our city government, provides tenant counseling and mediation for tenant/landlord disputes, with services provided in Spanish, Mandarin and Cantonese.
Tenants Together, a statewide coalition of local tenant organizations, has developed a COVID-19 toolkit that informs tenants of their rights during the pandemic. It includes advice for people having issues with rent increases, an eviction notice, or late fees. Beyond offering a variety of housing programs, the Tenderloin Housing Clinic also provides legal assistance for tenants facing eviction.
The California Legislature has established baseline eviction protections because nobody should be evicted from their homes during a pandemic. As your representative in Sacramento and chair of the Assembly Budget Committee, I will continue working to encourage economic growth and to increase our vaccination rate so we can recover from the pandemic as quickly as possible. My office is here to assist those having issues with unemployment insurance or with any other state agency; visit a19.asmdc.org to contact my office and access COVID-19 resources.
Phil Ting represents the 19th Assembly District, which includes the Westside of San Francisco along with the communities of Broadmoor, Colma and Daly City.