Originally published in Street Sheet.
The Eviction Defense Collaborative (EDC) has been putting Prop C dollars to work keeping people in their homes as more and more households are swept up in the wave of evictions that has followed the roll-back of the moratorium imposed at the beginning of COVID. The money is being used to supplement federal and state money that is helping tenants catch up on rental debt, and is currently being disbursed to cover three months of back rent and three months of future rent for tenants impacted by the pandemic.
For many years EDC has provided rental assistance to very low-income tenants facing evictions. This is a critical part of preventing homelessness, keeping long-term tenants in their homes and preserving affordable housing in San Francisco. The program assists tenants who owe back rent, and tenants who have been served with eviction lawsuits who need assistance to preserve their housing.
With Prop C funding EDC has been able to expand its rental assistance program, offering more money to tenants to cover unpaid rent and covering a longer period of unpaid rent. Unlike the state and federal rental assistance programs launched during the pandemic, EDC funds can pay back rent that tenants owed before the beginning of the pandemic, which is important for tenants who were already behind in rent. Importantly, funds can also be paid directly to tenants whose landlords refuse to participate in relief programs.
“At its core, the big thing we’re doing is that as the federal and state programs begin shutting down we’re still providing rental assistance directly to tenants,” said Laura Hernandez, Interim RADCo Program Director at EDC. “This helps the community see that we care, and it gives folks who are struggling a few months to catch up.”
San Francisco tenants can seek rental support from EDC’s program to prevent eviction in the immediate and buy time as they apply for state funding for rental relief. After the state funding runs out tenants can return to the EDC program for further assistance.
Readers interested in seeking support with rent can call the intake line for RADCo —(415) 470-5211— on Monday-Wednesday and Friday from 9am to noon, or email [email protected]