For Immediate Release: June 10th, 2020
Media Contact: Anya Svanoe, (510) 423-2452
CALIFORNIA – Today, Assemblymember Chiu introduced AB1436 the “The COVID-19 Eviction Protection and Housing Stability Act.” The bill protects California renters from police-enforced evictions due to unpaid rent during the pandemic, protects tenants from late fees or lost security deposits for unpaid rent and extends the date for repayment by 15 months. The legislation is being moved amidst a growing call for multi-pronged solutions to racial violence in California under the umbrella of a Black New Deal. Tenants on rent strike across California celebrate the bill as a first step in the #CancelRent movement in protecting Californians from the looming mass wave of evictions and escalating homelessness if the bill is not passed. To date, the Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment (ACCE) has collected 60,000 pledges to rent strike from Californians across the state calling on state legislators to cancel rent and mortgage payments.
The world witnessed the violent, militarized eviction of mothers involved in the Moms 4 Housing occupation in Oakland, CA earlier this year in a gross, over-exaggeration of how law enforcement is used excessively to police black bodies and protect property over people. Leaders of the #CancelRent movement warn that if ABXYZ is not passed, police enforcement of evictions will endanger and destroy more black lives and ignite more mass unrest across California.
While billionaires have gotten half-a-trillion dollars richer since the start of the pandemic, the racial wealth gap has continued to grow, leading the #CancelRent movement to plan a summer of action and agitation targeting those who are getting wealthier as suffering worsens. In low-income black communities and other communities of color across the country, anger is building among tenants who worry about getting evicted by police, and not surviving through the summer, while the richest Americans enjoy Congressional bail outs.
A recent report from the Action Center on Race and the Economy (ACRE) shows that corporations dominating the real-estate industry are sitting on $470 billion. A number of corporate landlords should not have received federal bailout funds in recent stimulus packages but did anyway. Earlier research and analysis from ACRE reveals how Wall Street firms profit from police violence through police brutality bonds.
“Given what happened for Moms 4 Housing, the last thing we need is our police employed to evict more families. That’s not what California is about. This bill is not enough, but it is a big step in the right direction. No amount of time will be enough to help people pay their rent back if their jobs no longer exist or if they have not been able to return to being fully employed. The full cancellation of rent is ultimately the only humane thing to do. Our cost of living is too high for them to not cancel the rent for us. The consequences of the pandemic cannot fall on tenants. This is not the solution, but it is a step towards the solution,” Sasha Graham, Board Chair of Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment.
The Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment (ACCE) is a statewide multi-racial grassroots community organizing group that fights for economic and racial justice. Their 15,000 members are primarily poor, low income and working class, communities of color in San Diego, Los Angeles, Oakland, San Francisco, Contra Costa County and Sacramento.