Leaders from the San Diego Unified School District have called on the City Council to extend protections for renters through winter until March 31, 2021. The City Council is scheduled Tuesday to consider a proposal from Council President Georgette Gómez that gives renters additional time to pay back rent without the fear of being made homeless by the COVID-19 recession.
San Diego Unified leaders made the announcement as California approaches the grim milestone of 500,000 confirmed COVID-19 cases. San Diego County has surpassed 500 COVID-19 deaths.
“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,” said School Board president John Lee Evans. “Certainly, the COVID-19 crisis has created enough misery in our community without adding to its toll.”
The uncontrolled spread of the COVID-19 virus required San Diego Unified to announce plans to start the new school year online on Aug. 31. The current ban on residential evictions expires a month later on Sept. 30.
“So long as the virus continues to spiral out of control, it will not be safe for schools to reopen for all students. That means many families are using their apartments and homes as classrooms, so their students can continue with their education online. This measure from Gómez will protect these families and give our students the stability they desperately need and deserve,” said School Board vice president Richard Barrera.
School leaders said there was added urgency for the City Council to take action given the end of federal unemployment benefits today. The Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation payments of $600 per week officially ended July 26.
“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 three 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. However, according to the U.S. Labor Department states can pay unemployment benefits no later than the week ending one week before July 31.