Imperial Beach Mother Among the Many Struggling to Pay Rent

Millions of people have filed for unemployment in California in the last several weeks. With so many people out of a job, or not earning a paycheck, there are new protections to help renters from being evicted

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It’s the first of the month and rent or mortgage payments are due. But many San Diegans tell NBC 7 they will not be able to make May’s payment because they’ve lost their jobs due to the coronavirus.

“I bust my butt as a mom, as a single parent, to provide food for my kids and pay my rent on time, and because of this I haven’t even paid April’s rent,” said Patricia Mendoza.

On Friday Mendoza joined dozens who jumped into their cars and drove across San Diego County asking state and county leaders for a break on rent.

“I’ve never paid my rent late. I’ve always paid my rent on time,” said Mendoza.

The Imperial Beach mother of two worked for a non-emergency medical transport company, driving cancer patients or seniors in assisted living to appointments. She was let go of her job in late March due to the coronavirus.

“We went from 55 trips to four trips a day, they laid off four other people, and I was one of them and since then I haven’t worked,” said Mendoza.

Mendoza says she’s trying to provide for her 17-year-old daughter and 9-year-old son.

“What am I going to tell my kids two months, three months from now? That we’re going to be homeless, and we’re going to live in a van. I don’t want to do that,” she said.

Mendoza says she has asthma, so searching for a new job during this pandemic is difficult.

“My son said ‘Mom, I have 53 dollars and 47 cents, I can help you pay the rent.’ My son shouldn’t worry about paying the rent. Those are his recycled cans that he collects from neighbors. He should be able to spend that money however he wants to,” she said through tears. “That hurt me.”

The family is going to food drives to help them get by but, Mendoza says, she still has yet to receive her stimulus check or unemployment benefits and the looming stress of rent is constantly on her mind.

“I’m not the only one there’s a lot of Patricia’s out there -- so many,” she said.

The City of San Diego has a moratorium on evictions until May 31st. The City is asking renters to let their landlords know what they are going through in writing, so renters can be excused from a monthly payment.

The San Diego Housing Commission said renters must give a notice to their landlords by the day rent is due as well as proof of financial hardship. Renters will then have six months to pay off their balance.

For more on renters rights in San Diego County, visit NBC 7 Responds here.

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