San Diego Extends Eviction Moratorium Through September
Tuesday, June 30, 2020
The San Diego City Council voted narrowly Tuesday to extend a citywide moratorium on evictions through September 30, as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to wreak havoc on the local economy.
The 5-4 vote came the day the existing moratorium, which applies to both residential tenants and businesses, was set to expire. Dozens of public commenters called into the meeting to urge the council to approve the measure. Some appeared to fight back tears as they explained they themselves are at risk of losing their housing.
"It doesn't solve the whole system's issue, but it does ... delay a growing crisis that's already a challenge for our community, for families that are at risk of homelessness," Councilmember Chris Ward said of the moratorium's extension.
Unemployment in some low-income San Diego neighborhoods has been hovering around 25%. Councilmember Vivian Moreno predicted that despite the reopening of some businesses, the current spike in coronavirus infections would keep many of her constituents out of work.
"We need to ensure that residents have some security and know that they're not going to lose the roof over their heads while we continue to battle this pandemic,” Moreno said.
In addition to Ward and Moreno, councilmembers Jen Campbell, Monica Montgomery and Georgette Gomez voted in favor of the extension.
Councilmembers Barbara Bry, Mark Kersey, Chris Cate and Scott Sherman voted against the measure, citing concerns that landlords would be unable to pay mortgages or maintain their properties if they are forbidden from kicking out tenants who aren't paying rent.
"I understand and sympathize with the challenges many of our residents are facing," Bry said. "But today we are being asked to vote to extend an eviction ordinance that doesn't really solve the problem."
Later on Tuesday, the council voted to use $15.1 million in federal CARES Act funding to create a relief fund for low-income tenants who cannot pay rent. The funding, which will be paid directly to landlords on behalf of struggling tenants, is expected to be made available in August.
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