Throughout the pandemic, California leaders have failed to identify meaningful solutions to help struggling tenants and their landlords – two groups whose survival is falsely presented as mutually exclusive. Many local governments have offered rental aid and used federal and state moratoria to avoid eviction cliffs. Most of the time, they took interim measures and kicked the road over and over again, desperately waiting for the state to intervene.
Well, California caught up with the can that they kept throwing. And the state is repeating the same flawed tactics as twice before. Members of the California Senate and Assembly are met in private with Gov. Gavin Newsom’s office this week, and on Friday announced the third extension of the state moratorium on evictions.
About 758,000 Californian households are behind on rent and facing an average debt of $ 4,700, according to National Equity Atlas. Tenants’ rights advocates say many families have reduced their needs such as food, water and medicine with the threat of eviction looming.
The legislator could vote on the extension from Monday, two days before the moratorium expires. Thursday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention extended nationwide deportation ban by one month but said it would probably be the last time.
Rent relief has always been touted as the government’s best solution to keeping people housed. California has $ 5.2 billion in federal renter assistance, and Newsom promised it will use the money to cover 100% of the state’s unpaid rent so that the landlords are paid. Corn recent reports has shown that very little has actually been attributed. Of the $ 688 million requested so far, only $ 61.6 million has been provided, according to the state’s Housing is Key portal.
Local programs managed by Sacramento and Sacramento County used only about 12% of their attribution.
Any deal between Newsom and lawmakers must go beyond the federal extension until July. California needs enough time to distribute its massive bankroll of rental relief.
More importantly, however, the expiration date must fall before the end of the legislative session in September or after lawmakers return in January. An expiration date in the fall would trigger a catastrophic wave of evictions and worsen the already severe homelessness crisis in the state. Officials said on Friday that the moratorium would end on September 30.
California must also make it easier for tenants to apply for rental relief. State officials said more than half of applicants abandoned their applications before they were completed. This is unacceptable for a financial assistance program that is supposed to keep people housed.
Many Californians have taken other steps to cover their rent, such as using credit cards, payday loans, and other forms of borrowing. They do not qualify under the current rules, but still face growing debt that could hurt them in the future. Lawmakers must expand eligibility for rent relief so that residents who have not waited for the government to act also have a chance to get a clean slate.
The true extent of housing unaffordability and insecurity in California has been exposed by COVID-19. Throughout the pandemic, eviction protections designed to keep people safe indoors have become a battle between tenants and landlords, led by advocates and real estate groups who were already at odds before COVID. By granting eviction assistance to rent assistance programs, heads of state have turned a public health problem into an economic one.
These days, Newsom is campaigning to tout California’s high vaccination rates and an economy that is coming back to life. The owners point to our economic gains as proof that the moratorium extension is no longer necessary.
Yet the data tells a different story. As employment among mid- and high-wage jobs surpasses pre-pandemic levels, employment rate for people earning less than $ 27,000 are down more than 36% per year, according to a Harvard University recovery tracker. And less than half of California residents lowest economic quartile are fully vaccinated.
We continue to abandon our most vulnerable residents. Paying off 100% of California’s rental debt would be a big accomplishment, but it doesn’t lift low-income residents out of poverty. Heads of state must recognize that short-term solutions exacerbate economic disparities that make it more difficult to build consensus on life-and-death issues like housing security.
The legislator has repeatedly historic housing bills rejected this would make it easier and faster to build more affordable housing. As a result, the housing crisis worsened during the pandemic and prices are now at historic levels. California needs leaders who take the whole picture into account and recognize that a vote today to expand eviction protections must be followed by a vote tomorrow that ensures tenants can afford to stay in. this house when their lease expires.