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Rally goers demand that LAUSD schools not reopen until more safety measures in place

Participants want access to vaccines for school staff and all zip codes serviced by district to be out of purple tier

LA Daily News - Students, parents, educators and community members rallied in downtown Los Angeles on Saturday, Feb. 20, to demand that schools not reopen amid the pandemic until stronger safety measures are in place. The event featured a mid-morning car caravan rally that began outside the Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce and ended at the Ronald Reagan State Building.

High Number of Evictions Prompts Richmond to Consider Stronger Protections

KQED - More renters in Richmond may soon be protected from evictions after the City Council on Tuesday approved directing city staff to draft stronger eviction protections for tenants during the pandemic.

"We feel the urgency of now, that we have to take action. So what we want to do is fill the gaps. This is the best scenario that we can do and we want to do the best scenario," said Richmond City Council member Gayle McLaughlin, who introduced the item.

Despite statewide protections that prevent tenants from eviction for nonpayment of rent if they claim a financial hardship, evictions are still happening, including in the city of Richmond. Contra Costa County evicted 135 people between the beginning of the pandemic and the end of 2020, the second-highest number of evictions across the Bay Area. That’s according to a KQED analysis of sheriff lockouts that was cited in the council member’s report.

Legal loopholes allow CA landlords to force tenants out even during eviction moratorium

Despite that moratorium, some landlords are looking for ways around the law to try to force tenants out now.

ABC 10 - A single mother of two young children has vowed that she will have to be "dragged out" of her home, after receiving notice by her landlord she's being forced out of her rental unit in Imperial Beach. This threat to evict Patricia Mendoza comes despite the current statewide eviction moratorium, which has now been extended through June.

Despite that moratorium, some landlords are looking for ways around the law to try to force tenants out now.

"It's a living nightmare," Mendoza said. "I'm going to have to live in my van with my two children, and that's not fair. It's not fair for anybody's family."

Mayor Gloria announces $45.5 million in COVID-19 rent relief from state

CBS 8 - On the heels of announcing federal rental assistance in late January, Mayor Todd Gloria announced Friday the state will provide $45.5 million in assistance for San Diego residents unable to pay rent due to the impacts of COVID-19.

These funds can also be used to help some San Diegans who are behind in paying their utility bills. A recent study by the state's Water Resources Control Board, for example, finds that nearly 70,000 San Diegans county-wide are currently behind on their water bills.

The state and direct federal funding amounts to nearly $87.9 million in relief for families and individuals who have been devastated financially by the pandemic. This is on top of $13.75 million in emergency rental assistance that helped 3,717 San Diego households in 2020.

Depleted savings, ruined credit: What happens when all the rent comes due?

LA Times - Millions of Americans unable to pay their rent during the pandemic face a snowballing financial burden that threatens to deplete their savings, ruin their credit and drive them from their homes.

A patchwork of government action is protecting many of the most financially strapped tenants for now. But it could take these renters — especially low-income ones — years to recover, even as the rest of the economy begins to rebound.

The Community Housing Activist Voted Onto Oakland’s City Council

Jacobin - Carroll Fife is a community organizer based in Oakland, California. She recently came to prominence for her role in helping to organize the Moms 4 Housing movement at the end of 2019, before going on to win a city council seat this past November. She won in the council district of West Oakland, the historic center of the Black Panthers that had, in more recent years, been controlled by a neoliberal representative. She still holds her position as the director of the Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment (ACCE), and is looking to take her grassroots movement-building experience to city hall to achieve real material change for the working class.

Fife ran on a platform of the right to housing, defunding the police to fund public services, and implementing the Black New Deal — a local variant on the Green New Deal that takes anti-racism as a key focus. As she prepares to enter city hall, Fife sat down with Jacobin to discuss her background in organizing, the fight to build municipal power, and what it would look like to decommodify human essentials like housing.

Why California’s Rent Moratorium Falls Short

The rent moratorium extension worked out in Sacramento is a flawed and incomplete emergency measure.

Capital & Main - Placed strictly in the context of the urgency that surrounds it, Monday’s announcement of a proposed extension of eviction protections for California’s battered lower income renters is welcome news. Moreover, since the deal was worked out among both state Senate and Assembly leaders, quick passage on Thursday is almost assured.

But a fix it is not. Rather, it’s exactly what it appears to be: a flawed and in many ways incomplete emergency measure, crafted in the high heat of the COVID-19 pandemic without the input of some significant stakeholders — and certain to require adjustments or perhaps follow-up legislation altogether.

Put another way, it is one piece of a very large puzzle. And when it comes to California’s ongoing crisis of affordable housing, that puzzle continues to grow.

Lawmakers Propose Extending Eviction Moratorium Until June 30

CapRadio - Legislators are prepared to extend California’s eviction moratorium to the end of June while offering landlords an incentive to forgive back rent using an extra $2.6 billion the state received from the latest federal relief bill.

Legislators and groups representing landlords and tenants worked on a deal over the weekend, and the bill, SB 91, was introduced this morning, which means lawmakers can vote on it Thursday morning.  

“We have a deal,” Gov. Gavin Newsom said at a press conference, noting that the deal also extended to financial assistance for unpaid utilities.

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“If federal tenant protection policies are mandatory because of the decades of evidence that landlords discriminate, such as fair housing, why would we allow landlords to opt out of a tenant protection program where the cost to society and human life could be catastrophic,” said Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment executive director Christina Livingston in a statement.

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