Renters and homeowners in Pleasanton are experiencing reduced, and even entirely eliminated paychecks during the shelter-in-place order. Many residents are currently hoping that their savings, one-time stimulus checks and/or unemployment insurance will allow them to cover rent or mortgage payments for April, May and the coming months.

From mid-March until now, approximately 3.1 million Californians have filed for unemployment benefits, and many have yet to receive their benefits. These numbers are expected to soar as companies begin to enter a deep, economic crisis and more businesses permanently close and more workers are laid off. Scarily, our state has already exhausted almost 50% of the funds set aside for unemployment payments.

Our current eviction and foreclosure protections are nowhere near enough.

The current protections provide a temporary moratorium on eviction, if tenants can prove that they are were unable to pay rent as an effect of the shelter-in-place or because they or a loved one contracted the coronavirus. Tenant may need to go to court to prove they meet the conditions. “Means testing,” especially during a crisis where unemployment numbers are surging, risks missing people who are in need and adds unnecessary huddles.

Even if they do qualify for the moratorium, Pleasanton renters would still owe past due rent. Unfortunately, renters who can't afford the rent one month will likely not have the money to pay double next month, or triple the following month. After all, 60% of Americans are unable to cover an unexpected $1,000 expense.

Even if they are somehow able to pay the rent in arrears and catch up, the moratorium doesn't guarantee that they won't face just-cause termination.

The moratorium also does not waive late fees for nonpayment.

Nor does it protect against rent increases. Even before this crisis, rents in Pleasanton had grown by 31.5% since 2014, far outpacing the national average of 12.7%.

Our city’s elected representatives have the responsibility to immediately take all steps necessary to address this crisis.

We ask for a suspension of all rent and mortgage payments for as long as the pandemic lasts, and a freeze on residential and small-business rent increases through the end of the year, which should be extended for longer if the economic impact of the coronavirus crisis continues through 2021. See the petition: http://chng.it/G99qxGkrfN.