Is Gavin REALLY Paying Off All Past-Due Rent? An Analysis
The California eviction moratorium is set to expire in just one week (though the San Francisco Board of Supervisors voted Tuesday to extend it til December 31, but that only applies within the city and county of SF). It does look like California will extend the deadline out further, but details are scant, lawmakers are still negotiating, and goddamn people, it’s getting to be the 11th hour on that.
“California is planning rent forgiveness on a scale never seen before in the United States.”https://t.co/yhggZmlgnT
— Gavin Newsom (@GavinNewsom) June 22, 2021
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Governor Gavin Newsom announced Monday a $5.2 billion program that would “pay off all the past-due rent that accumulated in the state because of the coronavirus pandemic,” in the words of NBC San Diego. The New York Times declared “California is planning rent forgiveness on a scale never seen before in the United States,” and ABC News claimed the bill would “pay all overdue rent for low-income tenants.”
California Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom, facing a Republican-led recall, is pushing the state legislature to approve his plan to use $5.2 billion in federal pandemic relief money to pay 100% of unpaid rent owed by low-income residents https://t.co/hJVrAVeNZq
— CNN (@CNN) June 22, 2021
Some of these phrases got our bullshit senses tingling, so we looked into these claims. And some of the bullshit is pretty basic. First, as CNN points out, Newsom “is pushing the state legislature to approve his plan,” so this is not a done deal. Further, the relief is not available to everyone. It’s only for people who make less than 80% of the Area Median Income (AMI). But in San Francisco, that’s $71,700 for a single unmarried person, so it’s fair to say that most people behind on their rent would qualify.
This cynical BS is why people hate politicians and maybe part of why our Governor faces recall. Rather than increase $ for back rent or issue a real eviction moratorium, Gov simply repackaged a prior announcement & went on a PR offensive. It has worked so far. Here’s the truth. pic.twitter.com/JWuj0KtD9b
— Dean Preston (@DeanPreston) June 22, 2021
But the biggest bullshit factor at play here is that not everyone will get their rent forgiven. Supervisor Dean Preston has many criticisms of Newsom’s announcement in the thread above; that it’s federal money and not state money (But who gives a shit? As long as tenants are being helped), that the announcement actually came more than a month ago, (Again, who cares? As long as people are being helped), and most importantly, this is not going to forgive all of everyone’s back rent.
Our hearing today revealed that two out of three SF households with back rent debt will not get help under current state and local programs. We must fulfill a key promise of Prop I: allocate city money for rent relief to prevent displacement and make sure nobody is left behind.
— Dean Preston (@DeanPreston) June 23, 2021
There is $5.2 billion in this proposed rent relief deal, and all of the unpaid rent in California is vastly more than that, so this relief will be like PPP loans — first come first serve, until the money runs out ahead of schedule. And it will be distributed so slowly it will not halt enough evictions. The Guardian notes that “of the $490 million in requests for rental assistance through 31 May, just $32 million had been paid.” The LA Times says that “under the current funding formula, L.A. will run out of rent relief early, leaving no financial assistance for 43% of renter households who have filed applications.”
~~ REMINDER ~~
State officials OPENLY ADMIT they can't get $ to all qualifying tenants with rent debt before the #EvictionMoratorium ends.
That means they could lose their homes. https://t.co/AArJImEHqa
Will @GavinNewsom & Legislature extend the moratorium beyond June 30?
— Noah Arroyo (@noah_arroyo) June 21, 2021
So yes it is true that there will likely be $5.2 million in back rent relief, but no, not everyone will get all of their back rent paid. In fact, at best half of all people will get rent relief, so all these “Newsom will pay off all the past-due rent” claims are at best half-true.
It still doesn’t hurt to apply. You can apply for California rent relief here.