By Christine Huard
The San Diego Unified School District is calling on the city to extend its ban on evictions through next year.
District administrators say the action is urgently needed to protect families struggling with COVID-19-related income loss in one of the country’s most expensive housing markets as federal unemployment benefits come to an end.
The Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation payments of $600 per week ended Sunday and it is not yet clear how much aid can be expected from Washington in the coming days. A $1 trillion coronavirus relief measure is in the works, but Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin said the GOP is opposed to increased unemployment benefits.
“It just wouldn’t be fair to use taxpayer dollars to pay more people to sit home than they would working and get a job,” Mnuchin told “Fox News Sunday.”
SDUSD’S leadership supports a proposal made by San Diego City Council President Georgette Gomez to extend protections for renters through winter until March 31, 2021. The council will consider the bid Tuesday.
“We know our families are some of the hardest working people in San Diego, and they should not lose their homes because they have lost their jobs due to a national recession caused by a global pandemic,” SDUSD Board President John Lee Evans said. “Certainly, the COVID-19 crisis has created enough misery in our community without adding to its toll.”
The Gomez proposal calls for giving renters additional time to pay back rent without the fear of being made homeless by the COVID-19 recession. The current ban on residential evictions expires Sept. 30.
“Time and again, throughout this crisis, San Diegans have come together to take care of one another. We did that as a school district, when we provided more than 3 million meals to hungry families. The City Council did that when it put a temporary halt to evictions in March,” said Superintendent Cindy Marten. “With federal unemployment benefits ending for thousands of San Diegans, it is time for us to come together once again and protect the most vulnerable among us.”
The CARES Act — the $2.2 trillion stimulus package — authorized $600 a week of enhanced unemployment benefits. Under the CARES Act, these benefits officially expire July 31, 2020. However, according to the U.S. Labor Department states can pay unemployment benefits no later than the week ending one week before July 31, 2020. Since July 31 is not a Saturday or Sunday, this means the week prior marks the end of these supplemental benefits, which are paid weekly or bi-weekly ending on a Saturday or Sunday.
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