Statement: Public Advocates Comments on Housing Highlights from Gov. Newsom’s Proposed CA Budget

For Immediate Release
January 8, 2021
Contact: Duc Luu, dluu@publicadvocates.org, 857-373-9118

PUBLIC ADVOCATES STATEMENT ON HOUSING HIGHLIGHTS FROM GOVERNOR NEWSOM’S PROPOSED CALIFORNIA BUDGET

California’s low-income communities of color, students, essential workers and renters are facing unprecedented hardships as Covid-19 continues to ravage our state, unemployment remains high, evictions loom, renters accumulate insurmountable debt, and public schools struggle to serve more than 6 million students with in-person and virtual learning. We urge the Governor and legislators to ensure a truly transformative recovery into 2021 that centers equity and addresses the need to achieve systemic change in California.

Statement by Sam Tepperman-Gelfant:

“The pandemic has shown us that our individual and collective health depends on everyone having a place to call home,” said Sam Tepperman-Gelfant, managing attorney at Public Advocates. “Without safe and stable housing, you can’t stay home and socially distance. Even before COVID hit, millions of low-income Californians were at high risk of being kicked out of their homes. This crisis is growing ever more dire. The state must ensure that nobody is evicted during the pandemic and that low-income renters and homeowners, as well as affordable housing operators, remain secure for the long-term,” he said.

Statement by Richard Marcantonio:

“It’s increasingly clear that the multiple crises we’re facing cannot be addressed within a framework of austerity,” said Richard Marcantonio, managing attorney at Public Advocates. “Our Governor and legislative leaders,” he said, “must take bold action to come to the aid of the communities and frontline workers hardest hit. That requires us to enact new progressive sources of revenue that ensure big corporations and the very wealthy begin contributing their fair share. Unfortunately, this budget does not address the dire need for new state revenues.”

Budget Recommendation Highlights:

  • We are encouraged by the Governor’s commitment to extend the state’s eviction moratorium before it expires at the end of January and to coordinate state and local expenditure of $2.6 billion in federal rental assistance that will come to California later this month. As these policies are further developed, it is essential that people unable to pay rent are protected both from eviction during the pandemic and from crippling rental debt, which would undermine the long-term security of families and communities.
  • We call on the Governor to put in place 1) a full residential eviction moratorium and ban on utility shut-offs until the pandemic is behind us, and 2) a waiver of rent payments and/or forgiveness of any rental debt accrued during this time. Any financial relief for property owners should focus on keeping low-income homeowners, nonprofit affordable housing operators, and small community-based landlords fiscally solvent and protecting them from foreclosure.
  • We also agree with the Governor’s statements that more money must be spent on affordable housing. We call on the state to make substantial ongoing investments in building and preserving social housing that is permanently affordable, stabilizes families and communities during the pandemic and beyond, and protects the state from the type of predatory Wall Street acquisition of homes that we saw in the last foreclosure crisis. Public investment in affordable housing is particularly effective and urgent in “down cycles” of the real estate market, such as the one we are currently experiencing.
  • We call on the Governor to increase funding across the board to aid the communities and frontline workers hardest hit by the pandemic.

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Public Advocates is a nonprofit civil rights law firm and advocacy organization that challenges the systemic causes of poverty and discrimination. For nearly fifty years it has strengthened community voices in public policy and achieved tangible legal victories advancing education, housing, transportation, and climate justice.

Originally published by Public Advocates: Source

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