The San Jose City Council on Jan. 24 unanimously approved a 90-day moratorium on rent for residents affected by the federal government shutdown, which has lasted more than a month.
The program will apply to residents who benefit from federal housing vouchers, such as Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing and Section 8, and those federal employees who are furloughed.
Property owners will receive temporary relief on fees and taxes, and the moratorium will either last a full 90 days or 30 days after the end of the shutdown.
The shutdown lasted 35 days after beginning on Dec. 22, and was brought about by President Donald Trump’s demands over a wall at the southern border, which would cost more than $5 billion. The government reopened Jan. 28.
San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo acknowledged the deferment of fees for landlords will not amount to much, but said either way, tenants will not be able to pay their rent. He said the moratorium would save both groups from beginning a month-long eviction process.
“There is high likelihood that in either case, the apartment owner would be in the same financial situation,” Liccardo said.
Tenants, on the other hand, could be prevented from attending school, become homeless and face “undue hardship,” according to the ordinance.
The city’s Housing Department said it has funds from the U.S. Housing and Urban Development to make payments on federal vouchers through January and February, but it does not have confirmation for March and April.
The City Council also passed an emergency loan program for federal workers at Mineta San Jose International Airport. The program is not available for all federal workers or residents impacted by the shutdown, but the city may consider a path forward for those groups if the government continues partial operation.
Story originally published by Bay City News.