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Faces of Eviction – East Palo Alto renters band together to push for rental relief

Faces of Eviction – East Palo Alto renters band together to push for rental relief
August 06
16:18 2020

Vidya Sethuraman
India Post News Service

43 million Americans at risk of eviction as relief programs and moratorium expired. Amid rising coronavirus infections and a worsening economic crisis, hundreds of thousands of renters are now at risk of becoming homeless in California, potentially exacerbating the state’s dire housing crisis. All renters are now subject to state laws, and there’s a patchwork of eviction policies that vary by state.

East Palo Alto’s workforce has been hit hard by the pandemic, with a 12.1 percent unemployment rate in June, compared with a yearly average of 2.4 percent in 2019, according to California’s Employment Development Department. Some California tenants have faced increasingly aggressive eviction efforts over the last month, despite emergency protections meant to preserve people’s housing during the coronavirus pandemic.

Three families, who rent apartments in East Palo Alto, lost work due to COVID-19 and now face eviction, shared their stories and how they organized to form a wider network to renegotiate with landlords.

East Palo Alto’s City Council has recently voted unanimously to extend the city’s moratorium on residential evictions to Sept. 30, a month longer than the San Mateo County moratorium.

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