California’s eviction moratorium is set to expire on Sept. 30 but San Diego Mayor Todd Gloria on Monday said it would not be the end of aid for tenants struggling from the fallout of the coronavirus pandemic, and outlined efforts to secure more funding for rent relief.
Gloria said he will present to the San Diego City Council on Oct. 5 a plan to use $5 million of the city's CARES Act funding to create a program that would provide eviction-related education materials to tenants and legal aid to those facing eviction.
On top of that, Gloria said he was working with federal and state leaders to secure more funding for San Diego's Housing Stability Assistance Program, which has distributed or committed $157 million of their $170 million federal rent relief fund --leaving only $13 million to assist struggling renters as the eviction moratorium ends.
“With the end of the state eviction moratorium later this week, that’s not the end of help here," Gloria said. "We’re working with our partners at the state and federal level to try and make sure every dollar that is possible to get out there that we get it to San Diego."
Gloria called the city's rent relief program "highly successful." About 12,000 San Diego households have been aided by the city's rent assistance program. But, here is an equal number of renters who have started applications that have not been finished, Gloria said. He urged those renters to finish their applications and said he would work to get them help.
"We have come a long way as a community. We know that there continues to be need out there," Gloria said. "We will continue to advocate to get as much assistance to San Diegans as possible. And, in the meantime, we’ll make sure that tenants that are under the threat of eviction will have the benefit of legal counsel to make sure that as they enter that process that they are properly represented."
Gloria was joined by San Diego City Councilmembers Stephen Whitburn and Sean Elo-Rivera who represent districts 3 and 9, respectively. The councilmembers said 40% of applicants for the city’s Housing Stability Assistance Program were from their districts.
Elo-Rivera said he had personal reasons to support Gloria's proposal to create a legal fund for those on the verge of eviction.
"An eviction isn’t just a legal proceeding. It is a process that uproots a family," Elo-Rivera said. "I’m thinking about the moments where my family had to move – those rush moves that were not planned for, the items and memories that were lost as a result, the days of schools that were missed. We can prevent that from happening.”
Gilberto Vera, a senior attorney with Legal Aid Society of San Diego also joined the mayor on Monday. He said hos group is committed to aiding those on the verge of eviction. He said anyone who receives an eviction notice should contact the Legal Aid Society at 1-877-534-2524 for a free review.
The state has said it has at least $1.4 billion in rent relief to still distribute.
Through Sept. 30, California’s COVID-19 Tenant Relief Act and the COVID-19 Rental Housing Recovery Act help protect tenants facing pandemic-related financial impact from eviction for nonpayment of rent if the tenant gives the landlord a signed declaration.
Starting Oct. 1, the state’s website says a landlord must apply for rental assistance before they can try to evict a tenant through the courts for failing to pay their rent.