On Friday, Governor Newsom signed an executive order to halt evictions until June 1st for tenants who have faced layoffs or hour-cuts in the wake of COVID-19, have missed work to care for a child whose school was closed, or who have either been afflicted with the virus themselves or needed to stay home to care for an afflicted family member.
The news follows an order signed nearly two weeks before that authorized local governments to halt evictions for tenants facing repercussions from the COVID-19 outbreak. The order began to draw significant criticism as dozens of California Assemblymembers signed a letter urging Governor Newsom to halt evictions statewide, stating that less than one-tenth of California local governments had acted on the initial order.
Prior to the statewide eviction halt, Sacramento City had passed an eviction moritorium. Sacramento County, however, failed to achieve the required four-fifths majority needed to pass similar legislation with two votes against having been cast by Susan Frost and Susan Peters, described in a subsequent Sacramento Bee editorial as Councilmembers who “can usually be counted on to do wrong by working families and the poor.”
“We’re glad to see that the state has taken the initiative, because municipalities definitely were dragging their feet,” commented John of NorCal Resist [Website | Facebook]. “Our local municipality was definitely dragging its’ feet,” he noted. “It’s a shame that Sue Frost and Susan Peters voted against it and were holding up the emergency ordinances for Sacramento County, and also that the city of Elk Grove had dragged its’ feet and after massive public backlash finally made a move on it.”
“Going forward though,” added John, “we do hope that immigrants, and particularly undocumented peoples, are given the same protections and that if there are any transgressions by landlords that think they can get away with it because these people are not citizens, we hope that legal resources are available to them so that they can seek recourse.”
California State Senator Scott Wiener has also expressed concern about what will happen in June when evictions resume. “The last thing we need is a wave of evictions immediately after the emergency ends, and that is exactly what this executive order allows,” commented Senator Wiener.
With cases of COVID-19 still on the rise in California as of Saturday, future eviction halt orders may still be on the horizon.