With LA's eviction moratorium expiring soon, some fear it could make homeless crisis worse

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Thursday, January 12, 2023
LA's eviction moratorium expiring could make homeless crisis worse
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Once L.A.'s COVID-19 eviction moratorium expires, tenants will have until Aug. 1 of this year to pay back the rent they missed between March of 2020 and September of 2021.

LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- As Los Angeles Mayor Karen Bass and the City Council focus on ending homelessness, the city's eviction moratorium is set to expire in 20 days, and some councilmembers and residents are concerned that could make the homeless crisis worse.

"We have an eviction to homelessness pipeline that we need to end. We need to cut. We cannot allow this pipeline to keep getting flooded with people in our communities," said Los Angeles City Councilwoman Eunisses Hernandez.

Renters make up the majority of Los Angeles residents. Once the COVID-19 eviction moratorium expires, tenants will have until Aug. 1 of this year to pay back the rent they missed between March of 2020 and September of 2021. Then, they'll have until February of 2024 to pay what was missed October of 2021 through February of 2023.

Renters were joined by members of the city council Wednesday, to demand the council pass protections that don't allow someone to be evicted if they're a day late or a dollar short, and make sure a tenant receives funds to relocate if they face an unreasonable rent hike.

"Landlords have an oversized power against tenants. When we talk about housing is a human right, it's not just simply about having a roof over your head, but the kind of equity and negotiating power that those tenants have against landlords. The dynamic of power should never be this way. It's why we have a homelessness crisis here in the city of Los Angeles," said Los Angeles City Councilman Hugo Soto-Martinez.

As Mayor Bass's Inside Safe program clears encampments and moves the homeless to hotels, new encampments appear everyday.

There is one in front of a now-vacant Rite Aid at Glendale Boulevard and Alvarado Street in Echo Park, located near a tiny home village in Soto-Martinez's district.

"We really have to line up with the mayor's vision of Inside Safe and address all the different encampments in the city. We know that until we give people real housing solutions, encampments are going to keep popping up because it's reshuffling people around the city," Soto-Martinez said.

City Council President Paul Krekorian seems open to holding votes over the next 20 days on the proposed tenant protections -- even if the moratorium expires. The moratorium currently doesn't have the votes to be extended.

LA County Board of Supervisors declare homelessness emergency, echoing Mayor Bass