SB 91, which was passed by the California Legislature and signed into law by Gov. Newsom, will provide an extension of the eviction moratorium which was set to expire on Jan. 31.

The urgency of this legislation was recognized by leadership in both houses of the Legislature and by our governor. I sincerely commend Speaker Anthony Rendon, Senate Pro-Tem Toni Atkins, Assemblymember David Chiu, and Gov. Newsom and all those who have played a role in extending these rental protections.

Roughly a year ago to date, California confirmed its first case of COVID-19, and since then the pandemic has disrupted the livelihood of millions. This pandemic led to an economic bombshell that further harmed those who were already facing economic insecurity. Nearly 1 million renter households in the state have lost their jobs due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

We know the COVID-19 pandemic has disproportionately affected vulnerable and marginalized communities such as the Latino, the African American, the Asian Pacific Islander communities and those who are low wage frontline workers.

Data from a U.S. Census Bureau survey found that just last month, more than 1.9 million adult Californians living in rental homes were behind on their rent. And, according to an estimate two weeks ago by the Legislative Analyst’s Office, about 90,000 California households are behind on their rent by a total of $400 million.

The provisions in SB 91 and SB 89 strike a balance intended to prevent a wave of evictions that otherwise would devastate communities up and down this state. This package extends the eviction moratorium and takes into account those most disproportionately impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic through the program prioritization provisions under the State Rental Assistance Program.

In the past several weeks, I had several meetings with tenant rights advocates to hear their concerns and frankly, their fears about the issues renters are facing across this state. The concerns of housing advocates were heard and we commit to keep working on these issues.

This is not about assigning blame. Tenants and landlords have both been affected by this pandemic and its economic consequences, and failing to act would risk irreparable damage to our housing market.

This extension is the beginning, not the end of the discussion and our search for solutions. In the weeks and months to come, we have more work to do and everyone who voted on this package understands the need to act now and the need to act in the future.

(California Assembly Majority Leader Eloise Gómez Reyes represents Assembly District 47, which includes the cities of Fontana, Rialto, Colton, Grand Terrace, San Bernardino and the unincorporated areas of Muscoy and Bloomington.)

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