‘A Serious Crisis’ — Experts Discuss Expiring Eviction Protections

If state lawmakers don’t act fast, tenants across California will become vulnerable to eviction next month for rent debts they accumulated during the pandemic.

Amid increasing calls for Gov. Gavin Newsom and the Legislature to avert an eviction wave, the San Francisco Public Press held a live panel discussion Wednesday about how the state got to this moment and what comes next. The Public Press spoke with Ora Prochovnick, director of litigation and policy at the Eviction Defense Collaborative, which provides free legal aid to people facing eviction, and Shanti Singh, communications and legislative director at Tenants Together, a statewide coalition of tenant-rights groups.

A view of tall buildings in San Francisco's Marina district, with a palm tree in the foreground. California tenants facing COVID-19 hardships must request rent and utility assistance before the end of March, when the state will stop accepting applications for rent relief.

California’s Rent-Relief Program to Stop Taking Applications March 31

California will stop accepting applications for rent assistance from people facing COVID-19 hardships at the end of this month, the San Francisco mayor’s office said.

Local governments throughout the state will have to figure out how to help people still struggling to cover rent as the economy continues its climb back to pre-pandemic levels.

A view of four-story apartment buildings on a San Francisco street. An eviction wave could wash over California starting in April, after statewide protections for renters expire, according to tenants' groups.

California Evictions Could Soar in April, Tenant Groups Warn

California could see widespread evictions next month because of government delays in getting federal funds to renters, tenant groups warn.

Tenants throughout the state will still be waiting for rent assistance by April, when their pending applications will cease to protect them from eviction for those debts, the groups said in a report Tuesday.

A birds-eye view of several multi-story apartment buildings, with downtown San Francisco in the background.

SF Tenants Set to Gain New Powers in Negotiations With Landlords

Tenants across San Francisco will gain new collective bargaining powers to affect conditions in their buildings, thanks to a move by lawmakers Tuesday.

The Board of Supervisors unanimously approved protections for tenants to form associations, akin to labor unions, that can negotiate with landlords over a wide range of concerns, including issues like construction schedules and even helping tenants pay off debts taken on to cover rents, often called “shadow debt.”

Coit Tower and the San Francisco Bay are seen behind apartment buildings in San Francisco's North Beach neighborhood.

SF Renters on Verge of Winning Collective Bargaining Rights

Groundbreaking tenant protections just got closer to becoming a reality in San Francisco.

City supervisors Monday gave the initial thumbs-up to legislation to protect the formation of tenant associations that, like unions, could collectively bargain with landlords. The three-person Rules Committee voted unanimously to approve the protections, which now move to the full Board of Supervisors.

Interview Transcript: Joaquín Torres

This interview is part of our February 2022 election guide. The Public Press and “Civic” are only publishing highlights from interviews with candidates on our audio platforms, but we are making extended transcripts available to add context. These transcripts have been edited for clarity.  

Sylvie Sturm   

Can you recap for me? How has your experience been in your very first election campaign that you’ve been going through? 

Joaquín Torres   

It’s been it’s been pretty amazing to be a first-time citywide candidate and being able to reconnect with so many communities, so many neighborhoods, so many old friends who I’ve been serving in one role or another throughout my time since I started public service back in December of 2009. 

Sylvie Sturm   

Why are you running for this office in particular? 

Joaquín Torres   

Well, I I’ve been looking for another way to serve. I started my career in public service and neighborhood services and really tried to learn the foundation of local government city service work from that perspective of: What is the front desk like of constituent services?