With California’s moratorium on evictions now expired and leaving hundreds of thousands of tenants who cannot pay their rent vulnerable, San Francisco supervisor Dean Preston on Friday declared his district a “no eviction zone.”
The Preston District includes neighborhoods like Hayes Valley, Fillmore, Japantown, Lower Pacific Heights, Western Addition, Cole Valley, and Inner Sunset. The state’s moratorium on evictions had been in place since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, but ended Thursday, leaving tenants who cannot pay rent due to the COVID-19 pandemic fearing lose their home.
According to Preston, there is an urgent need to inform tenants in his neighborhood of their rights, where one in four households is made up of tenants.
“There is a lot of confusion out there. Most tenants don’t realize that they are protected from eviction right now. What has changed is that they need to learn and assert their rights. rights, that doesn’t happen automatically, ”Preston said in a statement. . “This is where this program comes in. Our message to tenants facing eviction is to ask for rent assistance, exercise your right to legal assistance and stay in your home.”
The Eviction Free Zone initiative encourages residents to apply for government rent relief funds, seek legal representation, and learn about local eviction protections, among other efforts.
Preston cites three current protections available to tenants who cannot pay rent, including a local emergency ordinance drafted by Preston and approved by the Board of Supervisors this week prohibiting landlords from evicting tenants for failing to pay rent. rent until the end of the year, provided tenants pay at least 25 percent of what is due.
Additionally, Preston encourages tenants to apply for rent assistance through the state’s Housing is Key program at www.housing.ca.gov, as landlords are prohibited from evicting tenants for non-payment if the tenant requested the funds.
Preston also encourages tenants facing eviction to see a lawyer through the city’s Tenant Right to Counsel program, which provides free legal advice to those facing eviction.
Preston said his office, along with volunteers and nonprofit partners, will run a massive awareness campaign for the initiative, with the goal of reaching out to every tenant in the neighborhood by phone, email and text.
Additionally, Preston and the organizers will be hosting tenant rights boot camps, the first scheduled for next week.
Jackie Fielder, founder of the Daybreak Political Action Committee, part of the Eviction Free Zone initiative, said: “Our heads of state have not responded when tenants need it most, but we know when local organization can be powerful in stopping displacement. ”