San Francisco, CA

Board president Walton works with housing advocates against "tsunami of evictions"

Built in the Bay
(Joe Raedle / Getty Images)

By Ian Firstenberg

(SAN FRANCISCO) As local and state eviction protections end, City officials and non profits are working together to stop the impending "tsunami of evictions."

Daybreak PAC, Open Door Legal and Board President Shamann Walton are working together on Vision Zero Displacement, in an attempt to quell the coming wave of evictions in some of San Francisco most underserved districts. The coordinated outreach will focus on residents in Districts 5, 10 and 11.

As California reopens, hundreds of thousands of people across the Bay Area and millions across the state will be put in a tenuous, if not impossible, situation. They will be asked to repay backrent from months that many have been out of work while also being expected to financially recover from more than a year of unemployment. Without added protections like those put in place by Daybreak, Open Door and President Walton, San Franciscans and Californians will suffer tremendously.

“It is imperative that we prevent mass displacement in San Francisco. Districts 10, 11 and 5 are the most likely to be affected," said Daybreak co-founder Jackie Fielder during the press conference Thursday morning.

While the City's board of supervisors did pass an extension to the local eviction moratorium in late May, that does not protect tenants from being evicted for unpaid rent, arguably the most critical housing protection as thousands of City residents have been out of work or under-employed for more than a year.

According to Open Door Legal, a nonprofit aimed at providing universal legal access for everything from consumer law to housing law, nearly 32,000 San Franciscans are behind on their rent, with roughly one in five households in District 10 and other neighborhoods of color late on rent.

California's COVID-19 tenant protections are slated to end June 30, which means thousands of workers and families througout the City will face eviction this summer. To make matters worse, according to statistics compiled by the Bureau of Labor, the Consumer Price Index (CPI) for the greater Bay Area went up nearly four percent in the early months of 2021. As people remained out of work because of COVID-19 and were mildly protected by emergency eviction moratoriums, the prices of consumer goods went up.

Critically, under SB-91, San Francisco tenants would be required to pay at least 25% of missed rent from September 2020 to June 2021.

This reveals a terrifying phenomena ahead of the June 15 statewide reopening in which thousands of San Franciscans will be left with no financial protections from increasing housing and consumer costs.

Based on Open Door Legal's analysis, evictions will increase five fold after June 30, making this partnership between Daybreak and Open Door critical to supporting workers and families in San Francisco's most underresourced districts.

"Reach out to everyone in need, scale up our services and ultimately make sure that no one loses their home,” said Open Door Legal Co-founder Adrian Tirtanadi regarding the aim of this project.

Chief of Staff for Shamann Walton Natalie Gee noted that as part of this ongoing partnership there are two pieces of legislation aimed at quelling this developing crisis. One is an extended emergency ordinance and another piece of legislation, sponsored by District 5 Supervisor Dean Preston, seeks to extend tenant protections.

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