In the News

Stay Current

Coronavirus: California eviction protections could end Sept. 1

Housing advocates urge Newsom, lawmakers to help

Orange County Register - The Judicial Council of California on Tuesday announced it likely will end a statewide eviction moratorium on Sept. 1, aiding landlords seeking back rent but drawing dire warnings from community advocates about widespread evictions and homelessness.

Housing experts are warning that millions of California tenants could lose their homes unless Gov. Gavin Newsom issues an executive order delaying evictions and state lawmakers quickly enact more protections for renters financially struggling through the coronavirus pandemic. The judicial council’s proposal would give the governor and lawmakers two more weeks to craft a solution. A vote on the moratorium was expected this month.

Advocates say evictions will hit quickly and hardest in Black and Latinx communities. About three-quarters of renter households in California experiencing pandemic-related job losses included at least one person of color, according to a recent study by the UC Berkeley Terner Center for Housing Innovation. Many are cash-strapped despite performing essential jobs in retail, food services, construction and health care.

Elizabeth Warren sounds the alarm on a mounting housing crisis — and the profiteers who will take advantage

Alternet - During her 2020 presidential primary campaign, Sen. Elizabeth Warren had a lot to say about the United States’ housing crisis — and after suspending her campaign and endorsing former Vice President Joe Biden (now the presumptive Democratic nominee), the Massachusetts senator continued to address the subject. Warren, in an op-ed she wrote for the Washington Post with Carroll Fife (director of the Oakland office of the Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment), stresses that the coronavirus pandemic has made a brutal housing crisis even worse. And private equity firms, according to Warren and Fife, are hoping to cash in on the misery by gobbling up “distressed real estate.”

Pandemic Loans Were Meant for Small Businesses. Why Did These Giant Property Firms Get Millions?

KQED - Ryan Furtkamp and Brianne Hodson are counting down the days until local eviction moratoriums end, fearing what comes next.

Furtkamp, 32, and Hodson, 35, are married and live in Oakland, just north of downtown, and say they moved to the city for its diversity and progressive politics.

Furtkamp, who hails from Phoenix, works at UC Berkeley in communications. Hodson, who moved up from Los Angeles after high school, built her own successful dog-walking business.

Their combined incomes paid their $2,275 monthly rent — until the pandemic wiped out Hodson’s business. As clients dropped off, her income fell.

Hodson has gotten benefits from the federal Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program, but not enough to help them make rent, which they haven’t paid since April. The couple and other tenants in their 39-unit building say they plan to try to negotiate rent forgiveness with their landlord, San Francisco-based Mosser Companies. They say the only thing keeping them housed now is Oakland’s eviction moratorium.

Families see a looming catastrophe. Private equity firms see dollar signs.

Opinion by Elizabeth Warren and Carroll Fife

Elizabeth Warren, a Democrat, represents Massachusetts in the U.S. Senate. Carroll Fife is the director of the Oakland office of the Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment.

The Washington Post - The nation is facing an accelerating housing crisis. Too many people had no stable housing before the pandemic hit, and covid-19 has made the problem even worse. Renters who were already facing an affordable housing shortage (with many spending more than half of their income on rent) now have no federal rental assistance or federal protection from eviction. Homeowners have less than a month left of foreclosure protection. And more than 30 million people receiving unemployment insurance just saw their benefits cut by $600 a week, raising the threat of a wave of defaults that could trigger a double-dip recession.

Families see a looming catastrophe. But private equity firms just see dollar signs.

Parents, students and teachers take demands to LAUSD and LA Area Chamber

A coalition of advocacy groups and unions urged passage of Prop 15 in November.

LA Daily News - Parents, students and teachers rolled a car caravan to the Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce that filtered into a school district office in downtown L.A. Monday, Aug. 3 to urge a safe and equitable reopening of L.A. public schools and passage of Proposition 15.

The demonstration arrived at the L.A. Area Chamber of Commerce around 10 a.m. where activists held a press conference. Following that a small group walked to a nearby office for the Los Angeles Unified School District. There students and other individuals entered the lobby where they were confronted by security guards as car horns blared outside on the street.

Many Bay Area eviction moratoriums have extended: know your tenant rights

KVTU FOX2 - Many eviction moratoriums across the Bay Area have been extended, some indefinitely, and many others through the end of September. But tenant protections will vary depending on where you live.

In all Bay Area counties, renters have strong protections relative to the rest of the country. Certain cities, such as Oakland, where no one can ever be evicted due to nonpayment of rent during the pandemic, have their own rules, and the strongest protection prevails. 

The amount of time tenants will have to pay their rent varies from 90 days in Marin County to one year in Alameda County.

“When the courts open is when we're going to see all of this play out—the difference between living in Alameda County and living in San Mateo or Contra Costa,” said Leah Simon-Weisberg, the legal director for anti-displacement and land use programs at the Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment. “So, whether you live in Albany or El Cerrito is going to make a huge difference.”

Housing Justice Movement Takes on the Barons of Real Estate

Proposition 21 Reaches Campaign Milestone with 3,421 Individual Donations, While Committees Representing Billionaire developers, investors funding the opposition raised millions from 141 contributors

November ballot measure that will limit rent increases and preserve affordable housing in California sees an influx of support and small donations as millions of Californians already struggling with the state’s high housing costs face further housing insecurity due to economic impact of COVID-19 pandemic

BusinessWire - Housing justice advocates and champions of Proposition 21, a November 2020 state ballot initiative that will limit unfair rents, keeping families in their homes and preventing homelessness, are pleased to announce they have reached a significant campaign milestone: 3,421 individual campaign donations, with an average contribution of $12.76, have been made in support of the initiative. Meanwhile, four committees supported by the most powerful players in Big Real Estate, including the California Apartment Association, the California Rental Housing AssociationEssex Property TrustAvalonBay Communities, and Equity Residential, have raised millions with a combined 141 contributions.

There Is No Better Time Than Now for Philanthropy to Spend Itself Out of Existence

The Chronicle of Philanthropy - As our nation grapples with a confluence of crises, philanthropy is abuzz with how best to respond. Some are increasing payouts. Others are allowing grantees more flexibility in how they spend funds. A few have issued bonds to increase their charitable giving without tapping endowments. These are all useful steps, but none do enough to uproot historical inequities and upend power structures in society and philanthropy.

We offer an alternative solution: We encourage foundations to join the growing movement to distribute all their philanthropic assets within the next few years.

As the leaders of three foundations doing just that, we feel compelled in this moment to encourage grant makers to redistribute private philanthropic wealth back into communities instead of holding on to funds so their institutions can exist indefinitely. If we are to live our values, we must ask ourselves and our peers, “What are we saving our endowments for?”

Our call to distribute all endowment assets echoes many of our grantees’ pleas. Christina Livingston, director of the Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment, says philanthropists who publicly declare their support for racial justice need to “unlock endowments and let those who bear the brunt of generations of systemic racial and economic violence determine how those resources can best serve.”