Eviction crisis looms: Take action now to prevent further evictions

SB 91’s eviction moratorium expires on June 30th. This puts at risk over 14,000 households in San Mateo County and over 1 million in California of being unhoused. Read on for a brief explanation of what’s happening and steps you can take right now to help.

California launched Housing Is Key, a rent relief program which reimburses landlords 80% of an eligible renter’s unpaid rent as long as they waive the remaining 20%. [Learn more here] Yet, once this moratorium expires, the program will also be lifted. 

Faith in Action Bay Area conducted phone calls to tenants and landlords who hold or owe rent debt in San Mateo County and found

  • There is not enough outreach about this rent relief program. To put into perspective, 49 phone calls out of 58 were not aware of the program, that’s 87%. 
  • The program is not accessible due to lack of access to technology and/or language support. 
  • Money is being dirbured too slowly. Pacific Tribune reported that only 1.6% of the money requested in San Mateo County has been paid out. 

Housing Leadership Council adds the following updates: 

  • There have been improvements with this debt relief program, but they are meaningless without the extension of the extinction moratorium. As perfectly stated by HLC, “The debt relief program needs to be improved AND given time to work”. To read HLC’s full newsletter, click here

Here is what you can do, reach out to your representative:  

  1. Contact your State Senator, Josh Becker by clicking here and Assemblymember, Marc Berman here, in support of a state-wide eviction moratorium extension. When asked to “Select an issue” choose COVID-19, Bill/Legislation, or what most closely relates to your comment.
  2. Ask the Menlo Park city council to prioritize rent relief and other covid financial assistance with a new grant to Samaritan House in the budget
  3. Ask the city to fund outreach by local organizations with trusting connection to hard-to-reach residents (BHA, BCDF) and legal services (CLSEPA, Legal Aid SMC)
  4. You may also contact Senate President Toni Atkins, Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon, or Governor Newsom in support of a state-wide eviction moratorium extension. 

Need support putting together a comment? Silicon Valley Sponsoring Committee has provided these great talking points:

  • Identify yourself as a leader in your organization (e.g. Marin Organizing Committee) and a member of your institution (e.g. your place of worship, nonprofit affiliation, etc.)
  • More than a million CA families are at risk of eviction if the state does not act now to expand and extend protections for renters.
  • We must extend the eviction moratorium until the end of 2021, or we will see an explosion in our state’s homelessness crisis.
  • Amend SB 91 to expand eligibility and allow more flexibility in distribution. Senate Bill 91 only provides relief to tenants who owe back rent directly to their landlords. Many renters borrowed from payday lenders, family, friends and others to keep their rent current, or sublease from others.
  • In order for families to get back to work and repay their debts, tenants need the flexibility to use rental relief funds to prepay rent for at least 6 months.
  • SB 91 must be expanded to include families who sublease.

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