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California has a $5.2bn plan to pay off unpaid rent accrued during the pandemic

The rent forgiveness program would pay landlords all of what they are owed while simultaneously giving tenants a clean slate

The Guardian - California is pursuing an ambitious plan to pay off the entirety of unpaid rent from low-income tenants who fell behind during the pandemic, in what could constitute the largest ever rent relief program in the US.

The state’s governor, Gavin Newsom, is negotiating with legislators and said the $5.2bn plan would pay landlords all of what they are owed while giving renters a clean slate.

If successful, the rent forgiveness plan would amount to an extraordinary form of aid in the largest state in the US, which has suffered from a major housing crisis and severe economic inequality long before Covid-19.

Extending the eviction moratorium: Young people describe trauma related to housing insecurity

KTVU FOX 2 - The State of California and its counties are considering extending the moratorium on evictions in hopes of staving off flooding the streets, parks and lots with unimaginable new homeless. It's already had a huge impact on the young Californians of our future.

California's COVID anti-eviction moratorium ends on June 30. Experts say, 900,000 California households, up to 15% of renters, are behind on their rent each owing about $8,000, according to the Federal Reserve. 

If that tragic eviction tsunami comes, the pandemic will have hurt the children most of all and their parents know it. 

"They got scared, they got stressed out; we didn't have anywhere else to go," said Jorge, the son of a renter in Bay Point. 

California weighs extending eviction protections past June

PBS NewsHour/Associated Press - Gov. Gavin Newsom says California will pay off all the past-due rent that accumulated in the nation’s most populated state because of the fallout from the coronavirus pandemic, a promise to make landlords whole while giving renters a clean slate.

Left unsettled is whether California will continue to ban evictions for unpaid rent beyond June 30, a pandemic-related order that was meant to be temporary but is proving difficult to undo.

Federal eviction protections also are set to expire on June 30. California had passed its own protections that applied to more people.

California says changes ahead for rental relief program

San Jose Mercury News - After widespread criticism from tenants and landlords, state officials said Thursday they plan to streamline applications and step-up outreach efforts to more quickly deliver $2.6 billion in emergency rental assistance.

Despite nearly 200,000 applications requesting $543 million to cover unpaid rent, just $40 million has been distributed across California, according to state data. Advocacy groups continued to sound alarms, saying the state needs to accelerate the distribution of relief checks or risk a wave of evictions when a state moratorium expires June 30.

“I’m worried about eviction. All day, every day,” said renter Patricia Mendoza, a member of the Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment. “The vast majority of tenants and landlords have not received rent relief.”

City Council Expands Definition of Tenant Harassment Ahead of Ordinance Vote

City News Service - The Los Angeles City Council on Wednesday strengthened aspects of a draft tenant harassment ordinance, including through an expanded definition of harassment, and directed the City Attorney's Office to incorporate the revisions and bring the measure back for final approval.

The draft ordinance defines tenant harassment in several ways, including reducing or eliminating housing services, such as parking; failing to perform necessary repairs and maintenance; abusing the right to access a rental unit; threatening a tenant with physical harm; misrepresenting to a tenant that he or she is required to vacate the unit; refusing to accept rent payments; and inquiring about a tenant's immigration status.

The City Council amended the definition to include tactics like coercing a tenant to vacate with offers of payment; failing to perform necessary repairs on time as required by federal, state, county or local housing, health or safety laws; failing to minimize exposure to noise, dust, lead, paint, asbestos and other harmful building materials; and interfering with the comfort, peace or quiet of a tenant.

Some Exposition Park residents say housing developments near USC is gentrifying area

ABC 7 - Residential neighborhoods around USC look different than they did just a few years ago. Residents say that's because of companies like Tripalink, which are building housing for USC students - disrupting the makeup of Exposition Park.

Community members marched to Tripalink's office Thursday to demand a halt to all construction projects in the area. According to the group Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment, Tripalink is expanding at a rapid rate. 

Protesters also want their councilmember, Marqueece Harris-Dawson, to put up a fight instead of working with Tripalink, and bring affordable housing to the area.

"I am so disappointed in Marqueece Harris-Dawson because he's turned his back on us," said Beverly Roberts, who lives in Exposition Park.

San Diego Region Slow To Send Rent, Utility Relief To Struggling Tenants Facing Eviction

KPBS - More than two months ago, the San Diego region was awarded $211 million in state and federal funds to help landlords and low-income tenants who were financially impacted by the pandemic.

But only 2% of that money has been sent to eligible households, according to data obtained by inewsource in mid-May. Some are just now receiving updates about the status of their applications and many others are still waiting, housing advocates say.

The two-month turnaround to process applications and send payments to eligible households has been a problem for struggling tenants who are left in the dark. The state of California is also holding local agencies to a Sept. 30 deadline to commit 65% of the available funding.

Oakland tenants sue S.F. real estate investment company, alleging harassment

San Francisco Chronicle - Dozens of tenants in Oakland filed a class-action lawsuit and four multi-plaintiff lawsuits late Tuesday against Mosser Capital, a San Francisco real estate investment company, alleging illegal utility gouging and harassment, attorneys said.

The allegations include driving up existing rents by imposing new utility fees, unlawful entry into units, refusal to make repairs and charging tenants for necessary repairs.

The lawsuit, filed in Alameda County Superior Court, demands a jury trial, unspecified damages and asks a judge to prohibit Mosser and other companies named in the lawsuit from pressuring tenants to vacate their units.

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