City Council President Georgette Gómez speaks while Kevin Faulconer waits. Courtesy of Gómez’ office

The San Diego City Council voted Tuesday to support a temporary moratorium on evictions for residents and businesses in the city and ratified Mayor Kevin Faulconer’s state of emergency declaration.

“Work is slowing down and businesses are closing their doors,” Faulconer said at a news conference after the council vote. “As jobs disappear, rents do not. This relief is incredibly important.”

Any resident or business missing rent payments due to a loss of income or medical bills resulting from the coronavirus pandemic will be granted a stay until at least May.

“I want to say to residents, ‘This is not something you’re going to have to worry about,”‘ Faulconer said.

The City Attorney’s Office will collaborate with city staff to draw up the actual law going into effect.

“The COVID-19 pandemic is already causing harm throughout our communities and across our regional economy, impacting vulnerable families, individuals, and businesses,” City Council President Georgette Gómez said. “We must act immediately to protect those who most are at risk of devastating financial hardship.”

The state of emergency is in effect for 30 days, after which the council can vote to extend it. Faulconer declared the state of emergency on March 12.

Gomez asked the council to advance the following proposals as part of the comprehensive legislation:

  • The mayor and the city attorney, along with the San Diego Housing Commission, evaluate and present proposals to implement a temporary moratorium on residential evictions due to non-payment of rent resulting from lost wages caused by the COVID-19 pandemic
  • The Housing Commission present proposals to the council placing a temporary moratorium on evictions and mortgage foreclosures for property owned by the Housing Authority or SDHC due to non-payment of rent or mortgages stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic

Gómez’ proposals also included enforcing earned sick leave, freezing business tax collections, freezing utility shut offs and late fees, establishing temporary relief funding for city workers laid off or furloughed and opening hotel rooms to unsheltered people in the city.

— City News Service

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Chris Jennewein

Chris Jennewein is Editor & Publisher of Times of San Diego.