Seeing Signs of Speculation, SF Allocates Millions to Buy Housing

Tenants, advocates and city legislators are worried about real estate investors buying multi-unit housing properties like this one only to evict all of the tenants and sell the buildings for a profit. They want the city and the nonprofits it works with to buy those buildings instead of leaving them for speculators to snap up.

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.

How SF Renters Can Face Down the Eviction Wave and Stay Housed

Thursday marked the end of the statewide moratorium on evictions for unpaid rents due to COVID-19-related hardships, and by Friday landlords could begin the process to remove tenants.

But the head of tenant legal defense in San Francisco wants renters to hear one message loud and clear: “You’re still protected.”

A crochet teddy bear peeks through the window of a family home in the Ingleside neighborhood. The teddy bear wears blue scrubs, a stethoscope and a mask.

California Eviction Moratorium to Expire; Advocates Urge Renters, Cities to Act

Landlords may proceed with evictions against tenants for unpaid rent beginning Oct. 1 as a statewide moratorium on such evictions expires. Tenant, legal and public health advocates are urging tenants to apply for rent relief money, and want municipalities to approve additional protections, citing loss of housing as a public health concern. 

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.