LOS ANGELES--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Housing justice advocates from Housing Is A Human Right (HHR) and other housing groups are calling on Governor Gavin Newsom and the California Legislature to quickly create a $5 billion Renters and Small Landlords Survival Fund as a means to shortstop what many see as a looming eviction crisis prompted by the devastating economic havoc the coronavirus pandemic has caused throughout California over the past year.
As part of the effort, the groups will run a series of ‘The COVID Eviction Emergency Is Here’ advocacy ads in four newspapers across the state this week starting today, Wednesday, January 13, 2021 with a full-page, full color ad placement in the Sacramento Bee. This will be followed by ads on Thursday, January 14 in the San Francisco Chronicle, the Los Angeles Times and the San Diego Union-Tribune.
"In the wake of COVID 19, millions of people are out of work and hundreds of thousands will lose housing without a $5 billion renters and small landlords survival package," stated Susie Shannon, policy director for Housing is a Human Right. "We call upon the Governor and California State Legislature to do everything in their power to deliver the $5 billion needed to keep people housed and we applaud Assembly Member Miguel Santiago and the 21 other members of the state legislature who are already working to make this fund a reality."
California has a welcome, if unexpected, 2021 state budget surplus of at least $15 billion (and which one budget watchdog previously predicted could be as large as $26 billion), according to Bloomberg. In addition, $2.6 billion in federal rent relief is headed to California from the latest COVID-19 economic stimulus package from Washington.
California is currently home to 17 million renters, making up roughly 43 percent of the state’s population. And while eviction bans and moratoriums (several of which have been extended one or more times) that have put in place on a national, state and local level have helped keep many struggling renters in their homes, what’s needed is truly meaningful financial assistance for both renters and the small landlords who house them. Well-intended one-time $600 payments from the state or federal government will simply not allow tenants to cover their missed—and growing—back rent obligations nor make landlords, who have also faced significant economic hardship as a result of the pandemic, whole.
The Los Angeles Times reported yesterday on a newly released Economic Roundtable report, noting “Massive job losses caused by the COVID-19 pandemic nationwide will leave tens of thousands of low-wage workers without homes over the next three years…”
According to the Times, the Los Angeles-based research group forecasts in its report (Economic Roundtable report “Locked Out”) “… that pandemic-related unemployment will start a brutal cycle of homelessness. It says the uptick began as a trickle in 2020, but will triple this year and peak by 2023.”
According to several news sources, the U.S. Treasury has a Jan. 26 deadline to distribute $26 billion in federal rent relief funds to state and local governments. California is expecting $2.6 billion of those funds.