The San Mateo County Board of Supervisors and local officials are looking to moratoriums on evictions and foreclosures despite actions taken by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development earlier this week.

Wednesday, President Donald Trump announced a proposed $1.5 trillion package that he said includes “immediate relief to renters and homeowners” by suspending evictions and foreclosures for 60 days.

But, it turns out, the vast majority of renters will not be covered by the protections because HUD’s plan only covers single-family homes with loans through the Federal Housing Administration — roughly 8 million homeowners, most of whom are not under foreclosure, according to HUD.

That compares to the roughly 43 million households who rented in 2019, according to the U.S. Census. Roughly half rent their home from an individual investor, while the other half rent from a business or multi-unit property owner. The ones renting from a business will not receive any protections, according to HUD’s proposal.

While housing advocates praised the Trump administration package as an “important first step,” they said that by excluding renters, an often economically vulnerable population, it does not go nearly far enough.

In response, a countywide moratorium on eviction for nonpayment of rent by residential tenants directly impacted by the coronavirus goes before San Mateo County supervisors meeting Tuesday.

The hope is to develop a moratorium on residential evictions that could apply to incorporated and unincorporated areas, thereby protecting residents, according to a Redwood City staff report.

The county has suspended the Superior Court unlawful detainer calendar — meaning no evictions will be processed by the court between March 18 and April 7 — a date that could be extended, according to the staff report.

The San Mateo County Sheriff's Office will not perform any eviction-related duties — such as processing a court order to remove tenants from their residence, according to the report.

Supervisors will also consider donating $3 million in Measure K funds to the Silicon Valley Community Foundation to benefit San Mateo County families and individuals, nonprofit organization and small businesses adversely impacted by COVID-19.

Similarly, the Redwood City Council Monday will consider directing staff to develop an urgency ordinance for a moratorium on evictions of residential tenants who can’t pay rent due to the coronavirus.

“In the last week the city has received over 180 inquiries from residents concerned about losing housing,” according to a city staff report. “Without stable housing, individuals and families could be forced into crowded living situations or become homeless, making them much more susceptible to contracting COVID-19.” 

In addition, councilmembers will also consider allocating $150,000 from the city’s lodging tax to fund a COVID-19 Emergency Rental Assistance Fund. 

In San Francisco, a moratorium on evictions and foreclosures of residents whose incomes have dropped because of the coronavirus is the aim of legislation introduced by Assemblyman Phil Ting.

“We already had a homeless crisis before the coronavirus reached California,” Ting, D-San Francisco, said in a statement. “The last thing we need is to put more people on the streets and increase community spread.”

Provisions of the proposed legislation include no evictions or foreclosures during the declared state of emergency related to COVID-19, plus 15 days afterward.

Courts can set up a repayment plan for money owed and allow residents to remain in the residence. Payment recovery will run through March 2021 if economic hardship due to the coronavirus can be proven.

San Mateo County officials are developing a moratorium on residential evictions that could apply to incorporated and unincorporated areas, according to a Redwood City staff report.

Nannette Miranda, spokeswoman for Ting, said the assemblyman’s measure is needed.

“The problem is not every county’s doing it,” Miranda said of moratoriums.

Ting’s measure “is filling the holes,” she said.

Ting has also agreed to principal co-author a proposal by state Sen. Scott Wiener, D-San Francisco, that establishes similar protections for commercial properties.

As of Friday, 100 coronavirus cases have been reported in San Mateo County, with one death involving an older adult with underlying health conditions.

The public may view a video broadcast of the San Mateo County supervisors’ 9 a.m. meeting at https://sanmateocounty.legistar.com/, and may provide written comments by email to boardfeedback@smcgov.org. Emailed comments should include the specific agenda item or note that comments concern an item not on the agenda or on the consent agenda. Comments should be submitted by 8:30 a.m. Tuesday. Gov. Gavin Newsom issued an executive order suspending certain provisions of the Brown Act to allow local legislative bodies to conduct their meetings by phone or by other electronic means, the agenda for Tuesday’s meeting notes.

The Redwood City Council will participate in the 7 p.m. meeting by teleconference. The meeting will be streamed live on the city’s website at www.redwoodcity.org.

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