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    Eviction Moratorium: Fourth Time’s The Charm?

    by Emily Hoeven, CalMatters

    Californians facing eviction as soon as next week would get a temporary reprieve under a bill endorsed Thursday by the state Legislature’s Democratic leaders — and apparently by Gov. Gavin Newsom.

    Senate President Pro Tem Toni Atkins of San Diego and Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon of Lakewood announced their support for a proposal that would extend eviction protections through June 30 for Californians applying for funds from the state’s COVID rent relief program. Atkins and Rendon said the bill will get its first hearing on Monday.

    • Under current law, statewide eviction protections are set to expire on April 1 — just one day after the March 31 deadline for residents to apply for state rent relief.
    • Although the new proposal keeps the March 31 application deadline in place, it protects Californians from eviction while they wait for the state to process their paperwork. As of Tuesday, the state had distributed funds to about 214,000 households — fewer than half of the nearly 490,000 that had applied for relief — prompting advocates to warn of an impending “eviction tsunami.”
    • A Newsom spokesperson told CalMatters housing reporter Manuela Tobias: “The Governor strongly supports an extension that continues to protect tenants well into the summer and ensures that every eligible applicant is protected under this nation-leading rent relief program as it winds down.”
    • The bill also prevents local governments from passing their own eviction protections until July 1 at the earliest — a major reason why the powerful California Apartment Association, which represents landlords, investors and developers — supports it, according to the Associated Press.

    The last-minute proposal comes amid a flurry of reports that illuminate how the Golden State’s cost of living is becoming prohibitively high for a growing number of people.

    In the face of such statistics, actions like the one Attorney General Rob Bonta took Thursday — putting the city of Encinitas on notice for denying a permit for an apartment building with affordable units — may seem like small potatoes.

    Meanwhile, Sacramento City Unified schools closed for the second day in a row Thursday as employees continued striking over pandemic policies, staffing shortages and what they say are insufficient wages. And thousands of Southern California grocery workers appear primed to authorize a strike on Monday.

    The coronavirus bottom line: As of Wednesday, California had 8,473,370 confirmed cases (+0.03% from previous day) and 87,702 deaths (+0.1% from previous day), according to state data. CalMatters is also tracking coronavirus hospitalizations by county.

    California has administered 72,557,645 vaccine doses, and 74.4% of eligible Californians are fully vaccinated.



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