Dear reader, we need your help.
The “we” is all of us San Franciscans who aren’t part of the top 1%, the ones who don’t own property, the ones who aren’t going to see any benefit from SALT cap adjustments. We are the ones who’ve lost our livelihoods due to the pandemic, who don’t know how we’re going to make it. We are the ones who might be helped today by state-wide eviction moratoriums only to be hurt when those end and we have no means of paying our back rent.
Here is how you can help: D5 Supervisor and DSA member Dean Preston is the lead sponsor of a resolution expressing support for Ilhan Omar’s “Rent and Mortgage Cancellation Act of 2020.” The SF Board of Supervisors is going to vote on this resolution next Tuesday, May 5th. If you live in San Francisco, you should contact your supervisor and urge them to vote for this. Then you should contact Speaker Pelosi’s office and politely request that she listen to the people in the district she represents who so desperately need this legislation.
Omar’s bill will establish a fund via HUD to handle suspension of mortgage *and* rent payments, retroactively from April 2020 until one month after this national emergency ends. Even better, it stipulates that any landlord taking advantage of the program must agree to permanently reserve a portion of rent-restricted units for low-income tenants. The legislation also requires democratic control by residents, and that any evictions be documented and just-cause. It also prohibits landlords from discriminating who they rent to based on source of income, gender identity, criminal record, and a host of other conditions.
You can read the one-pager summary here. You should read it! You will be amazed by what you see – a piece of legislation that will help so many people if it passes, without corporate giveaways or means-testing. Why can’t all legislation be like this?
Speaker Pelosi catches a lot of grief for seeming to be out of touch. It’s a well-documented phenomenon that possessing great wealth can diminish one’s ability to empathize with others, and Speaker Pelosi is the third-wealthiest member of Congress. While the well-heeled of her constituency relishes her snarky treatment of President Trump, there are many of us who need something more substantial. We are in a national emergency, and the wealthiest among us do not seem to recognize the severity of our circumstances.
Nancy Pelosi is our representative, we need to make ourselves heard so that she understands how dire this moment is. The Board of Supervisors is going to help communicate that by voting on this resolution supporting Omar’s bill. We can help amplify that, by ensuring our supervisors vote to support the resolution, and by asking Speaker Pelosi to listen to her constituents who badly need this kind of rent relief.
You can contact Speaker Pelosi’s San Francisco office at (415) 556-4862 from 9-5:30pm, Monday-Friday. You can find your supervisor’s contact information here: https://sfbos.org/.