San Francisco is attempting to return to normal amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, and with that comes the end of the eviction moratorium. It has become apparent that the homeless population has only increased in the wake of the pandemic, and advocates are concerned that the moratorium’s ending will exacerbate the existing housing crisis and homelessness issue.
In a recent interview with Mercury News, Jim Wunderman, President, and CEO of the Bay Area Council expressed his concern.
“Homelessness has clearly risen to the top of Bay Area residents’ concerns about the region,” he said, “and that’s a big concern for all of us in the public policy world because it’s such a challenging problem.”
State Sen. Nancy Skinner, D-Berkeley, also weighed in on the issue in her interview with The San Francisco Chronicle, stating, “California’s housing crisis has been decades in the making.”
Presently, it is difficult to determine how many individuals are without homes in the city due to the postponement of the 2021 point-in-time biennial count until Jan. 2022. For context, the point-in-time biennial count is a barometer for homelessness rates, which counts the number of sheltered and unsheltered people experiencing homelessness.
Consequently, figures that illustrate the impact of the eviction moratorium’s end likely won’t be available until the completion of the count.
“The bigger concern is that this expiration date is [here], and families will be on the streets. We will see a massive eviction as probably we haven’t seen yet,” said Adriana Guzman of Faith and Action Bay Area in an interview with ABC 7’s KGO-TV.
Now, citizens are asking state leaders to allow state jurisdictions to apply their own protections to renters. However, California’s recently passed state law dictating the end of the moratorium on Sept. 30 thwarted the San Francisco Board of Supervisors’ attempts to extend the moratorium until next year.
In an interview with The San Francisco Chronicle, Supervisor Dean Preston, who spearheaded the moratorium effort, conveyed his frustration over the matter.
“The state government is literally stopping us from preventing mass evictions, and we will not accept this without a fight,” he said. “I will not rest until we have exhausted every possible avenue to make sure renters are not thrown out of their homes because of a pandemic.”
The end of the eviction moratorium has ignited city-wide concern among residents, activists, and officials alike. The question remaining is: how many people will be forced into homelessness as the moratorium comes to an end?