(Sacramento, CA) – Today, Assembly Member Miguel Santiago (D-Los Angeles), along with Assembly Members Tasha Boerner Horvath, Wendy Carrillo, Sabrina Cervantes, Sydney Kamlager, Sharon Quirk-Silva, Cristina Garcia, Mike Gipson, Lorena Gonzalez, Ash Kalra, Evan Low, Freddie Rodriguez, Mark Stone, Buffy Wicks, and Senators Ben Allen, Monique Limon, Henry Stern, and Scott Wiener, pushed for a $5 billion funding investment for rental assistance to prevent evictions. The economic impacts of COVID-19 have left many unemployed and with mounting renter debt. Without immediate statewide funding, hundreds of thousands of renters will lose their housing and become homeless. California must lead by example and provide crucial rental assistance to Californians struggling to stay afloat during the pandemic.
“COVID is not going away any time soon and millions of Californians need rent relief now,” said Assembly Member Santiago. “We are facing economic devastation and unprecedented levels of unemployment. Communities across California, especially low-income communities, are struggling to feed their kids, let alone pay their rent. This is an emergency and it’s absolutely necessary that we deliver rental assistance to avoid evictions and prevent a title wave of people from landing on the streets.”
“Last year, our Tenant Relief Act (AB 3088) enacted substantial protections from evictions, but renters remained liable for missed payments. By holiday time, 240,000 California households owed an average of $7,000 in back rent. This as we approach 2.5 million COVID-19 cases, and mourn 30,000 lives lost. Stop-gap measures won’t cut it because this is a matter of life and death. When we help tenants repay their landlords, we help keep families in their homes. For the wellbeing of our loved ones, and our neighbors, we must provide rental assistance right away,” stated Assemblywoman Carrillo (D-Los Angeles).
"In many parts of my district, as many as 80% of the residents are renters. Additionally, many of the people who own and manage those properties are mom and pop owners who are also in need of economic relief,” said Assemblywoman Garcia (D-Bell Gardens). “The COVID rent crisis is real and families and small business owners need immediate relief. This budget request is a wise use of our state resources. It's an intelligent and equitable means of providing that relief in a way that helps renters stay in their homes and property owners, especially small mom and pop property owners, pay their mortgages and avoid foreclosure."
“Our homeless crisis is out of control. This pandemic has made it worse, with black and brown communities being hit the hardest. CA must act NOW to ensure that families aren’t left on the streets once the eviction moratoriums expire,” said Assembly Member Gipson (D-Carson).
“Families shouldn’t be forced to decide between paying rent or putting food on the table during this crisis,” Assemblywoman Gonzalez (D-San Diego) said. “With cases of COVID-19 surging across the state, it’s critical we immediately extend rental assistance to avoid mass evictions and ensure families can remain safely in their homes.”
“Californians are struggling during this public health crisis and with critical support from the federal government yet to be seen, the devastating reality is that working families in my district are among the millions of renters across the state who are faced with the hardship of either job loss, reduced hours or income, or are obligated to quarantine because of being exposed to or becoming sick with COVID-19,” said Assembly Member Kalra (D-San Jose). “This budget request will help ensure that the most vulnerable in our communities can continue to have a roof over their heads and have a fighting chance in recovering from this pandemic.”
Californians continue to struggle every month to make ends meet and keep a roof over their heads. As a state, we must act and do more to keep families safe during the stay at home orders - providing rent relief during these times is the right thing to do to halt the alarming increase of COVID-19 cases and keep families safe,” said Senator Limon (D-Santa Barbara).
“The financial burden of COVID-19 has not disappeared from the lives of California renters, and our state’s eviction protection law is about to expire at the worst possible time for them,” said Assembly Member Buffy Wicks (D-Oakland). “Eviction protections and rental assistance are critical for the economic well-being of tenants and landlords alike. The choices we make here and now can help keep people in their homes, and ensure that our communities are safe from the public health risks caused by a surge in homelessness.”
“In a time of massive economic stress and upheaval due to the COVID-19 pandemic, more people than ever are facing housing insecurity and need rental assistance. We are seeing waves of evictions and increasing homelessness, we are seeing people choosing between feeding their families and remaining in their homes, and we are seeing people get sick and die because they are cramming into overcrowded housing since it’s all they can afford. The state needs to step in and help end this crisis,” said Senator Scott Wiener (D-San Francisco).
Assembly Member Miguel Santiago is the Chair of the Assembly Committee on Communications and Conveyance Committee and the Assembly Select Committee on Los Angeles County Homelessness. He also sits on the Assembly Committee on Health, Public Safety, Higher Education and Utilities and Energy. He represents the 53rd District composed of the cities of Los Angeles, Huntington Park, and Vernon.