Today, my colleagues and I took action to reach more Angelenos during the COVID-19 pandemic, focusing on support for renters and mortgage holders, regardless of immigration status.
Yesterday, the Chief Justice of the California Supreme Court issued a ruling that will prevent evictions and mortgage foreclosures through the end of the summer. The ruling also provides guidance on how to mount a legal eviction defense. This order does not establish any new tenant rights, or offer any new defense options in state eviction law, and requires rent and mortgage repayment. While we likely need much more, this ruling underscores the fact that the city does not have the authority to exceed rights granted by the state during the emergency declaration.
In order to provide the comprehensive relief renters and affected mortgage holders need, it will take federal action. Therefore, I introduced multiple resolutions and motions to ensure that the City takes every opportunity to maximize State and Federal help to assist our fellow Angelenos.
Over 80% of the residents in my district are renters. Renters need to stay housed and we need to do all we can to keep the buildings they live in from going into foreclosure. Today I co-introduced a resolution with Council President Nury Martinez and Councilwoman Monica Rodriguez, calling on our Congressional leaders to include assistance for tenants and their landlords in the next federal relief package. I hear from Angelenos across the socio-economic and career spectrum on a daily basis. People are in distress over loss of income and fear that they won’t be able to pay their bills or stay housed. That is why I have been calling on Congress for a federal plan that focuses on rent and mortgage forgiveness tied to COVID-19. After the Great Recession 12 years ago, the federal government bailed out the banking and auto industry and the economy eventually came roaring back. This time around everyday people need a bailout so there is stability as the pandemic eases and we regain a measure of normalcy.
Additionally, I introduced a resolution supporting the P.A.I.D. Leave Act (Providing Americans Insured Days of Leave), which proposes a comprehensive emergency paid sick, family, and medical leave program. The Act calls for a fully funded government program, and will provide additional support to workers and businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic as well as future public health emergencies.
I also introduced motions to ensure that no Angeleno is left behind during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The additional motions we introduced include:
- Instructing the City Attorney and the Housing + Community Investment Department (HCID) to report back to Council on how we can address any federal assistance gaps for our undocumented neighbors.
- Notifying by mail all residential rental property owners and tenants in HCID’s database of their housing rights and responsibilities during the COVID-19 local emergency period. This is especially important so that mistakes don't happen, and everyone is aware of their rights.
- Instructing the Bureau of Street Services, along with the Bureau of Engineering and Department of Transportation, to report on streamlining the review and approval process for street closures and parking enforcement changes. This allows medical workers to provide services to combat the COVID-19 outbreak within the public right-of-way, including on City sidewalks.
These action items, in addition to my resolution calling on Congress to enact rent and mortgage forgiveness, is what’s needed to help protect all Angelenos, especially our most vulnerable, during this difficult time.