As San Francisco considers terminating its local state of emergency for the COVID-19 pandemic, Supervisor Dean Preston is pushing for a 60-day extension on a pandemic-related eviction ban.
At the Board of Supervisors meeting Tuesday, Preston, a former tenant attorney, said permitting an extension on the eviction ban would allow San Franciscans to adjust and not lose their homes.
Otherwise, the city is “heading straight off an eviction cliff,” he said.
“Extending these protections is crucial to making sure we can get remaining funds for rent relief to tenants in need,” said Preston.
The city first issued a ban on evictions in the midst of severe COVID-19 lockdowns, when many people were facing pandemic-related financial hardships and risked losing their home. Since then, the city has set aside over $71 million for rent relief and assisted 6,000 households at risk of eviction or rent debt.
About $24 million of those funds, which can help an estimated 3,000 additional households, have still not been spent, according to data from the Mayor’s Office of Housing and Community Development.
Preston said it would be counterproductive to allow the eviction ban to expire while the city has already secured funds to help people.
Across the Bay, the city of Berkeley has shifted to a transition period for its eviction ban, holding off on evictions until the end of the summer. Hayward and San Leandro are also considering similar policies, according to Preston’s office.
Ora Prochovnick, director of litigation and policy at the anti-displacement nonprofit Eviction Defense Collaborative, said an extension is a win-win: unpaid rent is still collectable, but at least people can adapt before they face housing problems.
“This legislation is essential to provide a buffer of protection for San Francisco’s low income tenant community. This is especially true as waves of coronavirus infection continue to impact us, both medically and economically,” Prochovnick said.
The extension is Preston’s 14th piece of legislation revolved around eviction protections.