By Vanguard Staff
On Monday, Governor Gavin Newsom signed critical legislation that will extend not only the state’s eviction moratorium through the end of September, but also clear rent debt for low-income Californians that have suffered economic hardship due to the pandemic.
Under provisions of AB 832, California will significantly increase cash assistance to low-income tenants and small landlords under the state’s $5.2 billion rent relief program, making it the largest and most comprehensive COVID rental protection and rent relief program of any state in the nation.
“California is coming roaring back from the pandemic, but the economic impacts of COVID-19 continue to disproportionately impact so many low-income Californians, tenants and small landlords alike,” Newsom said.
The agreement was forged between the Governor, the Senate and the Assembly, AB 832 increases the value of the reimbursement the state’s emergency rental assistance program provides to now cover 100 percent of past-due and prospective rent payments, as well as utility bills for income-qualified tenants.
AB 832 additionally allows tenants to access rental funds directly if their landlord chooses not to participate and ensures landlords can receive compensation even if their otherwise income-qualified tenants have already vacated a unit.
The agreement was reached on Friday between the Governor and the legislative leaders.
Governor Newsom expressed appreciation for the agreement which he says will protect “ow-income tenants with a longer eviction moratorium and paying down their back-rent and utility bills.”
He immediately signed the bill into law upon receiving it on Monday making it “the nation’s largest and most comprehensive rental assistance package.”
Toni Atkins (D-San Diego), the Senate leader said on Friday, “Our housing situation in California was a crisis before COVID, and the pandemic has only made it worse — this extension is key to making sure that more people don’t lose the safety net helping them keep their home.”
“While our state may be emerging from the pandemic, in many ways, the lingering financial impact still weighs heavily on California families,” Senator Atkins explained. “People are trying to find jobs and make ends meet and one of the greatest needs is to extend the evictions moratorium—which includes maximizing the federal funds available to help the most tenants and landlords possible—so that they can count on a roof over their heads while their finances rebound.”
For Speaker Anthony Rendon, “The key thing is to recognize that people in rental housing are still facing financial obstacles, even as our economy reopens. This moratorium will keep families in homes, provide critical financial support to landlords, and help protect our supply of rental housing.”
Assemblymember David Chiu (D-San Francisco), Chair of the Assembly Housing and Community Development Committee explained, “Even though our state has reopened, hundreds of thousands of Californians are grappling with rental debt and the threat of eviction. Removing eviction protections now, while billions of rent relief dollars are still available, would be a disaster and exacerbate our homelessness crisis.”
“This proposal avoids a massive eviction cliff, allowing us to keep tenants in their homes and get landlords the financial support they need,” said Assemblymember Chiu.
“We’ve made strides in ending this pandemic, but its impact will continue to reverberate through our economy,” Senator Wiener of San Francisco who heads the Senate Housing Committee added. “Many renters are still out of work. Thousands of families tragically lost someone in their household to COVID-19, which can be both emotionally and financially devastating. We need to ensure our social safety net stays strong, so every Californian can stay stably housed.”