More than one month after statewide eviction protections expired on June 30, less than 4% of rent relief funds requested by San Francisco households remain unprocessed, with 55% of funds paid out.
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.
The last remaining tenant protections against eviction for pandemic-related rent debt that were granted by the state are expiring at the end of the month. A new protection covering rent due in April will go into effect for San Francisco tenants, but even these residents will be vulnerable to eviction for past rent debt at the beginning of the month.
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 recent investigation from the San Francisco Public Press and ProPublica indicates Hanson is not alone in her frustration. But the problem is not that there is nowhere for people to go. Rather, hundreds of units of permanent supportive housing — rooms in hotels or full apartments intended to get people experiencing homelessness a roof over their heads and connected with services — are sitting empty. Meanwhile, more than 1,600 people have been approved to move into them, and more than 400 people on the streets have been waiting to be housed for more than a year.
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.
If you’re a tenant facing a COVID-19 hardship, it can be difficult to understand how you are — and are not — protected from eviction. Here’s what you need to know.
As of early February, the city’s Department of Homelessness and Supportive Housing reported 1,633 homeless people approved for housing and awaiting their turn to move in. Yet records provided by the department show 888 vacancies in its permanent supportive housing stock as of Feb. 22. Filling those empty rooms would not just cut the waiting list by more than half. It would be enough to house roughly one in every eight homeless people in the city. The homelessness department said it cannot talk about individual cases, but officials acknowledged that at least 400 people have been waiting more than a year, far beyond the department’s professed goal of placing applicants into housing 30 to 45 days after they’re approved.
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.”
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.
Fires associated with homeless encampments in San Francisco rose by more than two-thirds during the first year of the pandemic, according to a Public Press analysis of the narrative texts from San Francisco Fire Department reports.
Fires are an ever-present fear for people living on the streets, where an errant spark could send flames ripping through a tent or other temporary shelter, sending its contents quickly up in smoke. Unhoused residents who have suffered through this experience report receiving little of the help available to those assisted after fires in buildings.