BAKERSFIELD, Calif. — Since March, the state of California has been protecting its residents from evictions. But that is likely to change as soon as next month, because the state's protections are slated to expire, leaving some wondering if local cities have plans to mitigate the eviction problem.
23ABC spoke with one community organizer who says he hopes they act quick.
“You're leaving people vulnerable during a time when they should be sheltering in the home they've been told to shelter in place in," said Daulton Jones, a community organizer with Faith in the Valley, a grassroots organization that recently released a report saying 20,000 kern county households could be in danger of eviction if the state’s protections expire.
It was announced this week that they could, in fact, expire for all California residents as soon as September 2.
“Unless you are one of the cities in the central valley, we’re talking about Fresno city, Stockton city, as well as Delano, who have urgency ordinances in place to protect their folks," Jones said.
That’s why Jones is calling on local cities and Kern County to protect their residents when the state cannot. The city of Bakersfield this week allocating $5 million of state funds to go directly toward rental and mortgage assistance in the city. Spokesman Joe Conroy weary though as to how much that money could help the 20,000 households that might need it.
“That may not be covered by our 5 million dollars, but we’re working to see what we can do to mitigate that as best as we can," Conroy said.
Conroy says residents will eventually be able to apply for the assistance, but that likely won’t be until the middle of September, which could be as many as two weeks after the state’s protections expire.
“We're very concerned with everyone maintaining housing. Obviously there’s already a homeless crisis in Bakersfield and Kern County as it is, and we don’t want that to get exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic," Conroy said.
When asked if there are any plans to launch any future eviction protection programs, Kern County did not comment.