With the growing economic uncertainties caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, many are struggling to make ends meet. Though rent moratoriums have been employed across the state recently to protect tenants, they can’t last forever.
San Diego City Councilman Scott Sherman recently came up with a plan to offer a better alternative to eviction moratoriums, which would both help renters pay their rent and ensure landlords don’t default on their properties.
Using the $11 million in U.S. Housing and Urban Development entitlement funding, San Diego could scale up existing homelessness diversion programs that provide rental assistance to qualified individuals to specifically protect those impacted by COVID-19.
“The burdensome government mandate of an eviction moratorium creates a domino effect of negative consequences,” Sherman explained. “Back rent continues to accrue for tenants, leaving them with hefty debt balances once the moratorium eventually ends. Ultimately, they still face eviction and substantial financial judgment against them.”
In truth, we are just kicking the can down the road when it comes to rent, although we haven’t had much of a choice recently. This setup will only result in the further accumulation of debt for renters. Landlords, many of which are average Americans and not the billionaires despised by Democrats, will lose vital income, and local governments will be forced to continue subsidizing for years to come. Rental assistance would help assure renters of their home security and landlords of their income, and assurance in these times is worth its weight in gold.
As Sherman puts it: “Instead of forcing private citizens to subsidize each other at their own expense under the threat of legal punishment, and piling debt on individuals already facing tough economic circumstances, there is a simple solution where all parties can remain whole.”