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Sonoma Health Officer Discuss Importance of Local Eviction Moratorium - Press Democrrat; 8/3/2020

Updated: Sep 23, 2020

(Photo Credit: Christopher Chung/The Press Democrat)

Here at BARHII we like to highlight the work of our partners and local health departments. In this recent article by the Press Democrat, Sonoma County's Health Officer discusses the importance of local eviction and foreclosure moratoriums in the fight against COVID-19.

Key quotes from the article include:

"'We need strong [rental eviction] protections,' [Sonoma County Health Officer Dr. Sundari Mase] said on a Zoom webinar organized by Assemblyman David Chiu. 'Without these strong protections, evictions are likely to surge, leading to increased spreading of COVID-19. As you can imagine, it will be very difficult to shelter in place if you are out of housing or homeless. And evictions would overburden our health care system, with more people being prone to being ill.'"

"But housing rights advocates say the local and state rules don't go far enough. For one thing, the current order in Sonoma County requires renters to demonstrate that their inability to pay rent is due to the coronavirus. 'It puts the onus on the tenant to prove the source of their condition, and puts the onus on them to know the law, to know that indeed they are protected from evictions,' said Rachel Marcus, a Sonoma County Tenants Union board member."

"Housing advocates point out that rent insecurity was an issue in Sonoma County long before the coronavirus struck. The group PolicyLink estimated 54% of renters here were already rent-burdend, meaning they spend at least 30% of their wages on housing. The average total savings for those households: $10. The Bay Area Regional Health Inequities Initiative [BARHII] noted that tenants in Sonoma County must earn $44.13 an hour – four times the California minimum wage – to afford the median market rent of $2,295."

For more information view the full article on the Press Democrat's site here.

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