A "For Rent" sign is taped above a doorway in San Francisco's Mission District, next to a retailer. San Franciscans in need of rent relief could get a reprieve if a law proposed March 24 passes -- but only if they act fast.

California Bill Would Give Tenants 3-Month Eviction Reprieve — but Only to Those Who Act Fast

A bill introduced Thursday in the California Assembly would extend eviction protections by three months for tenants who have applied for emergency rent relief related to the coronavirus pandemic. The catch: To qualify, tenants who haven’t yet asked for help would need to submit applications by the end of March, giving them less than a week to get their requests in the queue.

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.

A "check cashing" sign hangs above a storefront. While San Franciscans who owe COVID-19-related rent debt are eligible for relief from the government, those who borrowed from friends, family, and other sources are stuck with that debt.

Thousands in SF Saddled With Rent Debt but Ineligible for Government Help

Thousands of San Franciscans who borrowed money to pay rent during the pandemic are stuck with that debt, making them worse off than those who let the bills lapse.

Federal relief funds cover only unpaid housing expenses. That leaves tenants vulnerable if they made good-faith efforts to pay those costs by taking on thousands of dollars of debt to credit card companies, payday lenders, relatives or friends — especially if they later seek different housing.

A map of San Francisco shows central and southern neighborhoods marked in red. In the early 20th century, San Francisco’s central and southeastern neighborhoods were redlined, meaning designated as high risk, leaving their residents less likely to obtain government-backed mortgage loans than residents of other areas. A recent study suggests their residents now face higher risks from pollution.

State Report Links Redlining and Pollution Threats

San Francisco neighborhoods the federal government targeted with racist lending practices face the greatest health threats from pollution, a recent state study found. The California Environmental Protection Agency analyzed the latest pollution data in historically redlined neighborhoods, where people of color were denied mortgage loans under federal policies, in the report finalized in August.

Activists rally for a public bank on the steps of San Francisco City Hall in November 2019.

Group of Experts Devising Business Plan for SF Public Bank

A group of experts in relevant fields, from finance to affordable housing, has been selected to start to devise a business plan for a public bank. Fernando Martí, co-director of the Council of Community Housing Organizations, and Sylvia Chi, principal co-author of AB 857, California’s Public Banking Act and a member of the California Public Banking Alliance, talked with “Civic” about how a public bank would work.

Someone's hand is shown holding a phone with text messages on the screen. San Francisco residents who text “Rent” to 1-888-732-3215 will receive information about the statewide eviction moratorium, as well as referrals to groups that help people request financial aid to repay rent and utility debt.

In SF, Send a Text, Learn How to Avoid Eviction

San Francisco residents can now learn how to avoid eviction by sending a text message to a special phone number.

That service is part of an outreach campaign launched Friday by the San Francisco Anti-Displacement Coalition, a group of tenant-rights organizations. The goal: to teach people their rights and help them apply for rent assistance during the two months left before a statewide moratorium on evictions for unpaid rents expires.

More than a dozen people stand in a hallway leading to courtrooms in San Francisco.

Evictions Jump as Sheriff Lifts Pause Imposed in December

The San Francisco Sheriff’s Office evicted 25 households in the two weeks of June after the state reopened for business, more than double the monthly average over the previous six months.

Sheriff Paul Miyamoto resumed evictions that had been on pause as city officials declared that San Francisco was gaining the upper hand in its fight against the coronavirus.

Ventilation Won’t Make Offices as Safe as Pre-Pandemic, Expert Says

Engineers are fielding questions about whether upgrades to heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems will make their buildings as safe as they were prior to the coronavirus pandemic. Steve Taylor told “Civic” that’s not possible, but if workers wear masks, existing systems that meet ventilation standards we already have should be enough to bring the risk of infection to acceptable levels.

A view of San Francisco's Russian Hill neighborhood, set against a yellow sunset.

SF Has Not Made a Single Payment From Federal Rent-Relief Program as Eviction Moratorium Poised to End

With time running out, not a single San Francisco resident has received a check from the city’s federally funded rent-relief program. Barely a week remains before landlords can resume evictions for unpaid rents due during the pandemic.

“I have never been evicted or homeless,” said Buddy Bates, a renter in Parkmerced and father of two. “I live in that fear constantly now.”