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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.

Could the Right to Counsel Movement Save Millions From Eviction?

Spectrum News 1 -  Inside the eviction defense network offices in Westlake, siblings and attorneys Nathaly and Stefano Medina are working to keep hundreds of low-income Angelenos in their home.

They’ve had a fighters spirit since they were little, activists, a bit peleones, meaning agitators.

Cancel the Rent: A Rising National Rent Strike Movement Gains Momentum

Truthout - Rent strikes have spread across the country with the spread of the coronavirus. In the pandemic’s first months, 400 New York City families stopped paying rent in buildings with over 1,500 rental units. In May, rent strikes involving 200,000 tenants spread to Philadelphia and elsewhere. Washington, D.C., in September saw tenant unions spring up in strikes at the Tivoli Gardens Apartments and the Woodner, as well as Southern Towers in nearby Alexandria.

Rent strikes had a history as a resistance tactic before the pandemic hit. Cleveland tenants settled a rent strike in February, after 38 families forced concessions on the landlord of the 348-unit Vue Apartments in Beachwood. San Francisco had a famous rent strike that went on for three years at the Midtown Park Apartments, ending in 2017.

Demandan protección para inquilinos durante la pandemia

Telemundo 52 - Inquilinos afectados por la pandemia aprovechan el miércoles por la noche el inicio de las tradicionales posadas para demandar a los miembros de la legislatura estatal que aprueben una extensión a la ley que los protege de ser desalojados. Gabriel Huerta reporta el 16 de diciembre de 2020.

San Diegans caravan to extend rent moratorium

CBS 8 - There are pleas from renters who said they could lose everything if the current eviction moratorium expires. Californians owe an estimated $1.7 billion in back rent and still find themselves unemployed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. State lawmakers are hoping to extend the moratorium while Gov. Gavin Newsom looks to the federal government for help.

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