San Diego City Councilmembers voted Tuesday on two separate measures to help residents in America’s Finest City struggling with housing issues due to the coronavirus pandemic’s impact on the economy.
The city’s eviction moratorium, which was slated to end Wednesday, when many unemployed San Diegans were worrying about paying rent on July 1, was extended through September, giving residents more time to come up with their payments.
"I voted for the initial moratorium to get us past the immediate crisis, and expressed at the time that this could not go on indefinitely," Bry said in a statement released on Tuesday afternoon. "I support the rental assistance fund, yet we know this won’t address the full scope of this problem. Without rent payments or mortgage payment relief, entire apartment complexes could be shuttered and renters put out on the streets or living in apartments that aren’t properly maintained."
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Under the conditions of the moratorium, renters and small businesses cannot be evicted as long as they notify their landlord in writing on or before the day their rent is due. They then have a week to provide evidence their financial hardship is due to the pandemic.
“This is not to prevent folks from paying what they owe in terms of rent, but this is just to give them a little bit of more time to capture or restore some other finance,” said Georgette Gómez, president of San Diego City Council.
In March, the city council voted on the initial temporary suspension on evictions and foreclosures during the coronavirus pandemic until at least May. That was then extended through the end of June.
In a separate measure, the city council unanimously approved spending $15.1 million in CARES Act federal funding to create a COVID-19 Emergency Rental Assistance Program. The program will be managed by the San Diego Housing Commission and can provide up to $4,000 in assistance to as many as 3,500 qualifying households in the city of San Diego. Household income must be at or below 60 percent of the San Diego-area median income ($64,200 per year for a family of four) based on household size.
“The current $15.1 million is a start to what I hope is continued relief for residents, especially since this program gives us a mechanism to add funds as they become available,” City Councilman Chris Ward said in a news release issued after the vote.
Or requirements for the program include:
- The household is NOT currently receiving any rental subsidies
- The household is NOT currently a tenant of a property owned or managed by SDHC
- The household does NOT have savings to meet its financial need
- The household has eligible immigration status (U.S. citizen, lawful permanent resident, registry immigrant, a refugee/person seeking asylum or granted asylum)
- The household must have experienced hardship directly related to COVID-19