Council Votes To Halt Evictions, Provide $6 Million Relief Fund For Businesses
Speaker 1: 00:00 Right now as 1 million Californians apply for unemployment. There is a freeze on evictions and San Diego County and the city of San Diego, Imperial beach, Chula Vista, San Marcos and Oceanside are all moving in similar directions. Joining me to discuss the details, our city of San Diego, council member Monica Montgomery along with San Diego County supervisor Nathan Fletcher. Welcome to you both. Thank you. Thanks for having us. You know a handful of state assembly members that represent our area have signed on to a letter asking the government to put a state wide hold on. Evictions, supervisor Fletcher. Do you think a statewide policy would be a better approach? Speaker 2: 00:39 Oh, absolutely. A statewide policy would be a better approach in it. A statewide policy that was a very rigorous and very easy for folks to, to get relief, uh, would be the ideal situation. Absent that you're going to have some jurisdictions like the city of San Diego did under a council member, Montgomery is and leadership, uh, like the County of San Diego did. You'll have some jurisdictions do it, but it could be different from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. And then I fear some jurisdictions won't address it at all. And the, and the reality is people are really hurting right now. This is having a very real economic impact and, and we need to let the public know that no one is going to lose their home. No one will go without food. No one's going to have their power or their water turned off. Uh, create a sense of calm that we can get through this and, and that, that essence of your home, uh, and where you live, not being taken away from something outside of your control is a commitment. We should make statewide Speaker 1: 01:30 council member Montgomery, yesterday's council action shielded people in the city from being evicted through the end of may, but it's not automatic. What do city residents need to do if they are unable to pay their rent? Speaker 3: 01:42 We know that that renters, about 46% of the residents of the city of San Diego rent, uh, but we also know there are landlords and not all of them are sitting on a whole lot of money, right? So we wanted to have a balanced approach to this. Um, there will, there are requirements to show a proof that you have been affected by these covert 19 outbreak. But really the main purpose of this measure is to allow renters and landlords to really work together to come up with ways that are creative, that allow folks to be able to stay in their homes. So we, we have done that. It's an approach to that think that San Diego will benefit from. Um, and so we're, we're moving forward with it. Speaker 1: 02:27 Ken landlords ask them to pay a portion of their rent under this new ordinance. Speaker 3: 02:33 The ordinance allows for that type of negotiation. And the bottom line is we don't want anyone to have to worry about any type of eviction for a period of time. And so that's very important. A lot of folks have, um, as you mentioned in the intro, uh, lost their jobs, you know, overnight. And so this is a time where folks are really scrambling trying to figure out how they're going to make ends meet. We want it to be able to folks the time enough to figure out how they would survive throughout this, this crisis. In this global pandemic. And so it does provide room for negotiation. Folks do still have to pay rent the contract that the leases are still valid, but it does allow some room for negotiation and for folks to really be able to breathe at a time like this. Supervisor Fletcher, do residents in the unincorporated areas of the County following a similar process to what council member Montgomery outlined? Speaker 2: 03:30 It is the uh, the two efforts are very similar. We actually made a few changes to ours, uh, to kind of mirror some of the things that the city, uh, was doing and we want to do align him as best we could. But it does provide that opportunity to negotiate, work something out. And you do have to demonstrate that you've been financially impacted. It's not a high threshold to get over. If you've lost your job, you've had your hours reduced, you will meet the threshold to be able to do it. Speaker 3: 03:51 And council member Montgomery, what have you been hearing from your constituents about the impact of the Corona virus outbreak on them? Yeah, we have folks concerned about rent. We have a lot of people concerned about food security. So where we are connecting with those entities that provide food within our community, we are concerned about our seniors folks to do not have the mobility maybe to, to get out and go to those essential places that have food in order to be able to shop. So we're hearing all types of things. We have quite a few healthcare workers in this community that are on the front lines right now. There's really not a place that this hasn't hit. And so we are fielding all of all of the concerns and tried to quite folks in the right direction to get the relief that they need. We're also hearing a lot about, um, unemployment claims. Speaker 3: 04:45 Um, so you know, we're, we're looking at, I'm watching what's going on at the federal level, the state level, the County level, every single day. We're grateful for the collaboration that we've been able to have with the County and supervisor Fletcher and chair Cox and, and all those who serve on that board. Because right now we need all hands on deck. And so we've been doing that in order to address the concerns and the needs, the dire needs of our community members and council member Montgomery, you know, those who utilize this eviction protection both in the city and County will have to pay back that rent eventually. Do you foresee this being a challenge for tenants? The more we communicate with tenants, the more tenants can set up a plan in order to use this grace period to get back on track in the time allotted. So that is a very, it's something that that I have put at the top of my list of priorities to make sure that we educate people that you have to make a plan in order to pay your rent. Speaker 3: 05:47 I am very hopeful and grateful. We've seen so many kind acts from people in our community. I'm hopeful that landlords and tenants can work these out because we have to leave room for that. And you know with us all working together we can accomplish this and get on our feet together in a few months. But it is going to take time and it's going to take patient and and patients and we're going to have to be a little bit uncomfortable. But if we do that and go through these things together, we will be okay. When we spoke with Whitney Benzie in the California apartment associations, vice president of public affairs in San Diego, he said that although some of their members own many buildings, Speaker 4: 06:32 but the bulk of our membership is mom and pops and they're the ones who are really going to have the hardest time with this. They're the ones who they miss, they lose a rent payment, they're going to have trouble covering that themselves. And so that's the challenges that we're seeing from our membership. But at the same time they understand that this is a very unusual time and that they've all got to meet this challenge together. So no one's complaining necessarily. It's just, Hey, we understand the tenants have an issue. So do we, can we all admit that and try and find a solution that benefits everybody included, including the banks, right. Because if the banks don't get their mortgages from the owners, then you know, then they're in crisis as well. And I think that will just exacerbate and, and that's why I'm hoping the bailout low, whether the state or federal health address support. Everybody, Speaker 3: 07:18 the governor has worked with banks to provide relief to homeowners who may have trouble paying their mortgage. The County has also put a hold on foreclosures and unincorporated areas. Supervisor Fletcher, do these programs apply to landlords? Speaker 2: 07:32 They do. They do apply to landlords. And you know, I'm not unsympathetic to the concerns of a mom and pop individual, uh, who operates one building. And I think that there are a lot of SBA and federal type programs that will help some of those, uh, owners of units. And, um, and, and I, and I'm, I'm not unsympathetic to the concerns of the big banks, although they always seem to be taken care of. And so my guess is they're going to be fine. You know, a lot of the programs that are being announced, I think that the banks, those folks, they generally get taken care of, and I'm sure they will out of what's coming out of Washington. But I think we really got to step up and reassure the public that this is going to be okay. Uh, and, and we're going to make it through this. Speaker 3: 08:08 I've been speaking with city of San Diego, council member Monica Montgomery, along with San Diego County supervisor Nathan Fletcher. Thank you very much to you both. Thank you for having us. Thank you. Speaker 2: 08:21 [inaudible].