Effective immediately, my emergency ordinance protects renters, small businesses and nonprofits.
Thank you to the thousands of Oaklanders who shared comments, joined today's City Council meeting, and spread the word. In less than 2 days you helped our message reach more than 20,000 people digitally.
Special thanks to my co-sponsors Councilmember Dan Kalb and City Attorney Barbara Parker, and the tenants and small businesses who shared their stories. See news coverage in the East Bay Times and Oakland Reporter.
What You Need to Know
- RENTERS: You can't be evicted now through May 31, 2020 if you live in a unit covered by Oakland’s Just Cause Ordinance. Your rent may not be increased beyond the Consumer Price Index if your unit is covered by the Rent Adjustment Ordinance. You cannot be charged late fees during this local emergency.
- SMALL BUSINESSES + NONPROFITS: The commercial eviction moratorium applies to businesses with 100 employees or less and to nonprofits.
See this Moratorium Guide by Protect Oakland Renters for questions & answers and tenant resources.
For tenant and landlord assistance, City of Oakland Rent Program staff members are available by phone at (510) 238 - 3721 during normal business hours M - F 9:30 am - 4:30 pm. Please leave a message and a housing counselor will return your call within 24 hours. You may also visit the website.
In other news, today Governor Gavin Newsom announced a statewide renter eviction moratorium, though our local ordinance is much stronger.
On Wednesday, we were pleased to hear Gov. Newsom announce that more than 200 banks and financial institutions, including Wells Fargo, Citibank, JPMorgan Chase and U.S. Bank, agreed to a 90-day grace period for mortgage payments in the state for property owners impacted by COVID-19. This is all a good start and there is much work ahead.
Next Steps to Achieve Rent + Mortgage Suspensions with Immediate Forgiveness
We are all in this together -- tenants, homeowners, landlords, and small businesses.
Cities do not have the power to enact rent or mortgage suspension.
We must convince and call on our state and federal government, banks, and financial institutions to suspend rent for renters and small businesses; suspend mortgage payments with immediate forgiveness; and halt foreclosures. With the passage of my emergency ordinance today, Oakland City Council will call on our government leaders, banks and financial institutions to do so.
Can you take these three actions?
- Contact Governor Newsom at (916) 445-2841 or by mail or web here.
- Act with Housing Now's statewide campaign to #HaltForeclosures, #SuspendRent, #SuspendMortgage, and #ForgiveDebt.
- Act with Right to the City Alliance's nationwide campaign to #CancelRent, #CancelMortgage, and ensure #HomesForAll.
Italy, the UK, France, and Spain have all passed / are passing measures to immediately forgive rents and mortgages. Cities in the US are starting to call for this too. Let's get to work and make it happen!
Updates on COVID-19 Homeless Response
Today's special Council meeting also included agenda items to take action in supporting our unhoused neighbors during this pandemic. Thank you Council President Rebecca Kaplan for your leadership on these issues.
- Council voted unanimously to adopt a resolution to follow the CDC's COVID-19 guidelines on homelessness and not to clear encampments during this time, including taking away vehicles such as cars, vans, or RVs. It also: encourages encampment residents to set up tents / sleeping quarters with at least 12 ft x 12 ft of space per individual; ensures nearby restroom facilities have adequate sanitation equipment and remain open to unhoused neighbors 24/7; and ensures providing access to portable toilets and hand-washing stations.
- Council voted unanimously to adopt a resolution requesting the City Administrator to acquire buildings, facilities and supplies to prevent the spread of COVID-19 among unhoused communities. It authorizes the Administration to award a contract for regular trash pick-up service from encampments and up to $1.6M for sanitation; and waives advertising and competitive bidding to speed up the process.
See my last newsletter for resources and opportunities to support our community, including: contributing to Oakland's COVID-19 Relief Fund, using crowd-sourced guides to help our small businesses, and volunteering with organizations providing critical emergency services.
For information in Spanish, please see Recursos para la comunidad indocumentada en Área de la Bahía durante la pandemia del coronavirus by Azucena Rasilla.