Supe says San Francisco rent relief programs will only reach one-third of tenants in need – CBS San Francisco


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SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF / BCN) – Only a third of San Francisco tenants in arrears will receive any help from local and national rent relief programs, which remain underfunded, said Wednesday San Francisco supervisor Dean Preston.

The revelation came during a rent debt hearing convened by Preston to the government audit and oversight committee of the Board of Supervisors.

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The hearing took place just as the city’s Office of the Budget and Legislative Analyst released a study revealing that after 15 months, unpaid rents in the city had risen to between $ 147 million and $ 355 million. .

Although the state’s COVID-19 Rent Assistance Program covers rental debt from April 2020 to March 2021, San Francisco‘s Emergency Rental Assistance Program covers the following period, from April. 2021 to December 2021. Both programs are fully funded by federal funds.

While about 24,500 San Francisco tenants are behind on rent, local and state rent relief programs may only reach about 8,500 tenants, according to the mayor’s office for housing and community development.

Supervisor Dean Preston speaks on November 2, 2020 in Japantown, San Francisco, CA (photo courtesy of Supervisor Preston’s office)

“We have focused on low and very low incomes, so the total number of people in arrears may not match the priority populations that we have identified through our various programs,” said the director of the MOHCD, Eric Shaw, at the hearing. .

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“We get hundreds of calls from tenants trying to navigate the state program and the local program,” said General Fujioka of the San Francisco Anti Displacement Coalition. “But we recognize that many will not meet the city’s criteria, defined as the most vulnerable, and therefore they will be denied any assistance.”

“My concern is that the hearing really confirmed that about one in three households, facing rent debt, will be helped by these programs, and that includes state and local programs,” Preston said. “I think it is unacceptable to say that two-thirds of people with rent arrears are going to be left without help.”

In addition to the challenges of reaching all residents in need, Preston and housing advocates said the difficulties in funding the city’s rent relief program remained. Although the city has received $ 90 million in state funding for rent relief, even in the best of circumstances, the city’s rent relief program remains at around $ 57 million to meet needs.

To further fund the program, Preston urges the supervisory board to include Proposal I funds in the next budget, which is currently under review. Prop I is a tax measure passed by voters in November 2020 for rent relief, generating more than $ 50 million to date since it took effect in January.

“I urge the state to contribute state money to this effort as well, not just the transfer of federal money,” Preston said. “But in San Francisco, we also have to do our part. We have adopted Proposition I very clearly for the express purpose of providing rent relief with half the funds and we have more funds than expected, thankfully. I look forward to working with my colleagues and the Mayor’s office to ensure that we can do better than help one in three people and that we can really accelerate these programs.

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