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How COVID-19 & corporate greed could devastate Latinx and Black renters and kick 40,000 families out of their homesRead the full report
This is a joint report with the Law Foundation of Silicon Valley.
Yet COVID-19 has cost thousands of people in Santa Clara County — especially Black and Latinx people working in industries that pay low wages — the jobs and income they depend on to make rent.
Over 200,000 working people in Santa Clara County filed claims for Unemployment Insurance (UI) or Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) claims just between March 15 and May 30, 2020. Thousands more, including many of the estimated 95,000 undocumented workers in the county, have likely been ineligible or unable to access programs to replace their income.
Without wages, or relying on benefits that are insufficient to cover Silicon Valley’s sky-high living costs, thousands of families have been unable to pay their full rent during this pandemic. While Santa Clara County's eviction moratorium means landlords cannot evict people currently, renters must still pay back any missed rent within one year after the county ends the moratorium. That bill that could run roughly $7,000 for three months without income for the average renter household.
Before the pandemic, about half of all renter households in Silicon Valley paid more than 30% of their income to their landlord. For these already rent-burdened households, repaying three months of the median rent over a year (on top of their current rent) would take 66% of their monthly income. That’s far more than many families could possibly afford.
Most at risk are the estimated 43,490 households with people who have lost work, but do not have unemployment or other income replacement. And for thousands more families facing long-term unemployment, federal UI and PUA benefits will be cut by $600 a week on August 1 (unless Congress acts), leaving many more households without enough income to cover rent.
This impossible situation is the impending eviction time-bomb — when the back rent comes due, landlords (primarily big corporations) could kick thousands of families out of their homes. Unless policymakers take action, we’re facing a scenario of crushing debt, mass evictions, and a surge in homelessness.
This outcome is a public health and racial justice disaster. As a consequence of racist housing and economic systems, Black, Latinx, and undocumented families are more likely to rent their homes, to have landlords that demand an unaffordable portion of their income, and to have lost their income during this pandemic. Combined, these factors put them at great risk of eviction and homelessness.
Tell the Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors to extend the Eviction Moratorium throughout the emergency, and permanently prohibit landlords from evicting tenants who are unable to repay back rent due to loss of income from COVID-19.Email the Board