Housing advocacy needed


Hi friends:  May you find rest and peace during the weekend ahead.
I wanted to share two opportunities for people interested in the housing issues being magnified by the Covid-19 and racial injustices during this transformational time.
This from our friends at Ensuring Opportunity to End Poverty:
Dear friends and colleagues,
We're asking you to take action (again) to keep families from losing their homes and prevent an avalanche of evictions in Contra Costa in the wake of COVID-19.
Please share this sobering analysis and contact the Board of Supervisors NOW, and definitely by Tuesday July 14th. ....and spread the word.
The Contra Costa Board of Supervisors Must Act to Prevent Waves of Eviction
Contra Costa County has seen one of the worst surges in COVID-19 infections among the six Bay Area counties coordinating to fight COVID-19. It has also seen the worst unemployment rate, at 13.6% as of May 2020. Still, Contra Costa has weaker emergency tenant protections than each of the other six counties, except Marin. This is a dangerous situation for the one third of households that are renters, since they’re more likely to either be essential workers or out of work, lacking income and savings, and unable to pay rent. 
Raise the Roof has teamed up with the Bay Area Equity Atlas to create a new analysis of the coming wave of evictions looming over local residents. The Bay Area Equity Atlas report found that 12,000 renter households, including 10,400 children, are at imminent risk of eviction if the County fails to take further action. An additional 9,500 households could be at risk of eviction once the Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation program ends at the end of July. The harms of mass eviction and homelessness will fall overwhelmingly on Black, Latinx, and immigrant families. You can read a full analysis of the new data here.
On July 14th, the Board of Supervisors will review the County’s eviction moratorium. There are THREE WAYS TO TAKE ACTION:
  1. Send an email to your Supervisor to share your story and urge them to take action on each of the demands. Please take a few minutes to personalize your email before you send it.
2.               Make a comment at the Board of Supervisors meeting on July 14th, starting at 8:30am.
  • The eviction moratorium is Item D.9 on the. agenda.
  • You can watch the meeting on Comcast Cable 27, ATT/U-Verse Channel 99, WAVE Channel 32, or live online at www.contracosta.ca.gov
  • In order to make a comment, dial 888-251-2949 and enter the code 1672589#. When the Board discusses Item D.9, press #2 to “raise your hand” and you’ll be called on to speak. You will only be given 1 minute to speak.
3.               Make social media posts using the images and sample text in this tool kitDon’t forget to tag the Supervisors!
 Given the high numbers of residents at risk of losing their homes, Raise the Roof calls on the Board to:
  • Extend the eviction moratorium until 90 days after the state of emergency ends.
    • The economy is hurting because of government action to protect public health. As long as the County is creating this situation, it’s responsible to protect renters who’ve lost work or income as a result.
    • It will take time for the economy to rebound and residents to get back to work. Renters need an additional 90 days after the emergency period to stabilize their lives.
    • It’s more efficient to link the expiration date to the health emergency--as is the case in Antioch, El Cerrito, Pittsburg, and Richmond--rather than revisiting this issue every month.
  • Ban evictions for non-payment due to COVID-19, converting missed rent to consumer debt. 
    • Contra Costa’s eviction moratorium only allows tenants 4 months to pay back all unpaid rent. That’s less than in Alameda, San Francisco, San Mateo, and Santa Clara Counties. Tenants will need more time to regain financial stability in order to pay their debts, otherwise we’ll see widespread evictions.
    • Landlords will still be able to collect the full amount of missed rent, but tenants will be protected from eviction during a pandemic. This is now the case in all of Alameda County and several Bay Area cities.
  • Increase rental assistance, tenant counseling, and legal services for low-income renters. 
    • There aren’t enough services for tenants in Contra Costa. The County used to have legal services to support those being served with eviction notices, but it defunded that program four years ago.
    • Black and Latinx households and women are more likely to be renters and more likely to spend too much on rent (more than 30% of their incomes). They’re also more likely to be evicted. Renter rights are about racial, immigrant, and gender justice.
    • There are an estimated 65,000 undocumented residents in Contra Costa County and most of them are renters. They contribute an estimated $39 million in local taxes. They need and deserve services that are safe and accessible.
  • Pass just cause eviction protections and rent control to address gaps in state law. 
    • COVID-19 has led to an eviction crisis because of a lack of safe, affordable, and accessible housing in our communities. Renters have been struggling for years with skyrocketing rents, unjust evictions, and displacement. This is a long-term problem and it needs long-term solutions like eviction protections and rent control.
    • AB 1482 was a good start, but it does not go far enough to protect renters. It allows annual rent increases of up to 10%, which could quickly add up to burden families. It also excludes many tenants, like those who rent in mobile homes, and doesn’t cover tenants until at least 12 months into a lease.
    • We need local measures to address these loopholes and make our county more resilient for the future.
    • We need rent stabilization to keep essential workers in our communities.
    • The local economy loses out when families have to spend 30 to 50% of their paychecks on rent--often to out-of-town landlords and real estate investment companies--rather than spending it locally on groceries, school supplies, and more.
  • Establish a tenant housing program to conduct inspections, create a rent and eviction registry, and provide other resources for tenants.
    • There aren’t enough services in this county to ensure safe and healthy living conditions for renters, many of whom have to live with pests, mold, dangerous  conditions, and broken appliances.
    • COVID-19 was called the “great equalizer” until the government released data on racial and ethnic disparities. There’s a serious lack of data on housing conditions in Contra Costa, especially for evictions. We can’t make good policy without good data. We need a registry of rent increases and evictions each year.
    • Tenants have no place to go for more information about their legal rights and resources, especially in Central and East Counties. Bay Area Legal Aid does very good work, but it’s located in West County and prevented by Federal law from serving undocumented people.
Thank you!
Héctor Malvido (he/him/el)
Policy, Advocacy, and Community Engagement Manager
Ensuring Opportunity Campaign to End Poverty in Contra Costa County
hmalvido@richmondcf.org | (619) 763 – 4444
Follow us on Twitter and Facebook
Tú eres mi otro yo. You are my other me.” – In Lak’Ech

Second, the East Bay Housing Organization is hosting a discussion on July 17th.  Hit the link under the announcement to register.

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