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Giving a voice to the voiceless in the conversations around housing.
The San Mateo Housing Stories Project is an ongoing project of One San Mateo.
Far too often, those affected most by changes in our communities are those who leaset have a voice in the matter. They lack a voice in the media, and they lack a voice in politics, one feeding the other in a vicious cycle.
Again and again, we hear powerful interests say that we lack the data to take action on housing. But then when we push for government to collect the relevant data, those very same powerful interests do an about-face and cynically stand in the way of the collection of data.
Only government can collect the necessary data on the full extent and nature of the housing problems we are suffering from. However, we will not standby and allow those affected by housing to be silenced by the inaction of others.
The San Mateo Housing Stories Project is aimed at gathering stories from and providing a forum for those being impacted by the continuing housing crisis. You are not alone. By raising our voices together we have power.
RECURSOS PARA INQUILINOS
A continuación ofrecemos un resumen de los recursos disponibles para las personas que han sido impactadas económicamente por COVID-19, poniendo hincapié en aquellos recursos que pudieran ser de mayor utilidad para los inquilinos del Condado de San Mateo. Esta no es una lista completa y la disponibilidad de los recursos cambia con frecuencia. ¡Haremos lo posible por mantener esta lista al día! Para informes adicionales, favor de consultar también la página web del Condado de San Mateo dedicada a COVID-19.
¿Necesita ayuda con un aviso de desalojo o para negociar con su dueño de casa?
Tanto Community Legal Services en East Palo Alto como The Legal Aid Society of San Mateo County pueden brindar asistencia legal a aquellas personas que se enfrentan a un desalojo o a incrementos de renta extremos.
¿Necesita ayuda para pagar su renta?
Comuníquese con Samaritan House of San Mateo. Siendo la agencia central de la Ciudad de San Mateo, Samaritan House es el portal para casi toda la asistencia económica disponible en respuesta a COVID-19. Llame para hacer una cita con un/a administrador/a de casos al (650) 347-3648. También puede solicitar asistencia financiera por internet, aquí, o en persona durante la distribución semanal de almuerzos de Samaritan House en 4031 Pacific Blvd. San Mateo CA 94403.
Organizaciones adicionales que proporcionan diferentes tipos de asistencia para la vivienda, y/o quiza tengan asistencia financiera disponible en el futuro:
- Housing Industry Foundation (el Fondo de Emergencia para la Vivienda no acepta solicitudes en este momento pero pudiera reabrirse de nuevo en mayo)
- HIP Housing (vivienda compartida – adicionalmente, tienen una buena lista de recursos relacionados a COVID-19)
¿Necesita ayuda con comida?
Comuníquese con Samaritan House of San Mateo mediante su página web o por teléfono al (650) 347-3648.
Second Harvest of Silicon Valley tambien puede dar asistencia:
- Llame a su línea directa Food Connection (conexión a comida) al 1-800-984-3663
- Envíe el mensaje de texto “GETFOOD” al 408-455-5181
- Envíeles un email a: firstname.lastname@example.org
En este volante se encuentra una buena lista de las horas y de las ubicaciones en las que hay distribución de comida en el Condado: COVID-19 Community Resources: San Mateo County (Recursos comunitarios para COVID-19 en el Condado de San Mateo)
¿Busca recursos disponibles para inmigrantes indocumentados?
Los programas de asistencia económica, de comida, y otros programas ofrecidos por Samaritan House of San Mateo están disponibles para personas indocumentadas.
Las personas y familias indocumentadas que no sean elegibles para recibir otros tipos de asistencia debido a su estatus migratorio, pueden solicitar $500 en fondos de rescate del proyecto de California para Asistencia de rescate a inmigrantes durante un desastre (Disaster Relief Assistance for Immigrants o DRAI). Habrá fondos disponibles llenando una solicitud del lunes, 18 de mayo al, en la orden en la que se reciba la solicitud, hasta el 30 de junio, o hasta que se agoten los fondos. Para llenar una solicitud, llamar al 866-490-3899, de lunes a sábado entre 8 a.m. y 9 p.m. Solo se aceptan solicitudes por teléfono. Hay fondos limitados; por lo tanto, favor de presentar su solicitud a la brevedad posible. Para más detalles, consultar la página de Internet de Catholic Charities of SF.
El hecho de aceptar asistencia o de acceder a atención médica para mantenerse sano/a durante la crisis del COVID-19 no debería de afectar su estatus migratorio. Sin embargo, The Libre Project tiene información muy buena para ver si pasa la “prueba de la carga pública”.
La siguiente es una lista extensa de recursos disponibles para las comunidades de personas inmigrantes, entre ellas personas indocumentadas: [Immigrants Rising] Apoyo para las comunidades inmigrantes durante la crisis de COVID-19
Por último, este es un recurso que mantiene una lista de cuáles son los fondos de rescate disponibles para la gente indocumentada de California: Relief Funds For Undocumented Workers in California (Legal Aid at Work).docx. Muchos de estos no están disponibles actualmente o solo están al alcance de personas que viven en otros condados. Pero consúltela para ver información nueva.
¿Tiene problemas para tramitar la solicitud de desempleo o las solicitudes para otros trámites?
Comuníquese a las oficinas de sus representantes estatales si está teniendo problemas para que se le tramiten sus solicitudes:
Senador estatal Jerry Hill: para servicios para los constituyentes relacionados a COVID-19, favor de comunicarse a Senator.Hill@senate.ca.gov o llamar a (650) 212-3313.
Asambleista estatal Kevin Mullin: (650) 349-2200
RESOURCES FOR RENTERS
The following is an overview of resources available to those economically impacted by COVID-19, with a focus on resources that might be of the greatest use to renters in San Mateo County. This isn’t a complete list, and the availability of resources changes frequently. We’ll do our best to keep this updated! Please also check the San Mateo County’s COVID-19 website for additional updates.
Need help dealing with an eviction notice or negotiating with your landlord?
Need help paying your rent?
Contact Samaritan House of San Mateo. As the core agency for the city of San Mateo, Samaritan House is the gateway for nearly all financial assistance in response to COVID-19. Call to make an appointment with a case manager at (650) 347-3648. You can also apply for financial assistance online, here, or in-person during Samaritan House’s weekly lunch distribution at 4031 Pacific Blvd. San Mateo CA 94403.
Other organizations that provide various forms of housing assistance, and/or may have financial assistance available in the future:
- Housing Industry Foundation (Emergency Housing Fund is not accepting applications now but may open up again in May)
- HIP Housing (home sharing – plus a good list of COVID-19 resources)
Need help with food?
Reach out to Samaritan House of San Mateo on their website or by phone at (650) 347-3648.
Second Harvest of Silicon Valley can also help:
- Call their Food Connection hotline at 1-800-984-3663
- Text “GETFOOD” to 408-455-5181
- Email them at email@example.com
This flyer contains a good list of times and locations for food distribution in the County: COVID-19 Community Resources: San Mateo County
Looking for resources available to undocumented immigrants?
The financial assistance, food, and other programs offered by Samaritan House of San Mateo are available to those who are undocumented.
Undocumented individuals and families who are not eligible for other forms of assistance due to their immigration status can apply for $500 in relief funds from the California Disaster Relief Assistance for Immigrants (DRAI) project. Funds are available by application starting on Monday, May 18 on a first-come first-served basis, until June 30 or funds are depleted. To apply, call 866-490-3899 between 8am – 9pm Monday through Saturday. Applications are only accepted by phone. Funds are limited so apply as soon as possible. For more information, go to Catholic Charities of SF’s webpage.
Accepting assistance, or accessing medical care to stay healthy during the COVID-19 crisis should not affect your immigration status. However, The Libre Project has some good information about the “public charge test”.
The following is an extensive list of resources available to immigrant communities, including the undocumented: [Immigrants Rising] Tangible Support for Immigrant Communities During COVID-19
Finally, here is a resource that tracks relief funds available to people in California who are undocumented: Relief Funds For Undocumented Workers in California (Legal Aid at Work).docx Many of these are not currently open or are only accessible to people who live in other counties. But check for updates.
Having trouble navigating unemployment or other application processes?
Contact state representatives’ offices if you are running into problems with your applications getting processed:
State Senator Jerry Hill: For constituent services related to COVID-19, please reach out to Senator.Hill@senate.ca.gov or call (650) 212-3313.
State Assemblymember Kevin Mullin: (650) 349-2200
By Community Legal Services in East Palo Alto and Legal Aid Society of San Mateo County
On March 24, 2020, the San Mateo County Board of Supervisors unanimously enacted an emergency eviction moratorium to temporarily protect tenants from being displaced from their homes during the ongoing COVID-19 public health crisis. The emergency eviction moratorium protects eligible tenants against COVID-19 related nonpayment of rent and no-fault evictions. Please read these FAQs for more detailed information on the emergency eviction moratorium, who is protected, and how eligible tenants should make delayed payments in accordance with the law.
Who is an “eligible tenant” protected by this emergency eviction moratorium?
Eligible tenants include those whose income and ability to pay rent have been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. You may be protected by the emergency eviction moratorium if you experienced any of the following:
- Loss of income as a result of being sick with COVID-19, or caring for a household or family member who is sick with COVID-19
- Loss of income as a result of a layoff, loss of hours, loss of business, or other income reduction resulting from COVID-19
- Loss of income due to compliance with the San Mateo County Shelter-in-Place Order or recommendation from a government agency to stay at home, selfquarantine, or avoid contact with others
- Loss of income as a result of having to care for minor children who were affected by school, pre-school, and/or childcare closures
- Incurred substantial medical costs related to COVID-19
- Suffered any other substantial financial hardship caused directly by COVID-19 or the governmental response to the COVID-19 pandemic
If your income or ability to pay rent has been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, you must notify your landlord and provide documentation demonstrating the relationship between your inability to pay rent and COVID-19. The law also requires that you pay some portion of the rent, if you can afford to.
Please be aware that the emergency eviction moratorium does not provide protection for all nonpayment of rent — the inability to pay rent must be related to or a result of the COVID-19 pandemic or any governmental response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Eligible tenants also include those who receive a “no-fault” eviction notice after March 24, 2020 or those who received a no-fault eviction notice prior to March 24, 2020 that has not yet expired. However, the tenant is not protected when an eviction is initiated because either the landlord or the landlord’s family needs to move into the property. Tenants can still be evicted for violating their lease.
I lost income as a result of COVID-19. How do I inform my landlord that I am unable to pay my rent?
Your landlord must first provide you with a written notice that will explain: (1) the amount of rent you owe, (2) that the rent is due unless you can establish in writing and through documentation that you are unable to pay rent for a reason related to COVID19 within the applicable deadline, and (3) that you must notify your landlord as soon as possible that you are unable to pay rent.
Once you receive the written notice explaining your right to make a delayed payment, you must inform your landlord in writing that you are unable to pay the rent and provide supporting documentation within fourteen (14) days. Providing notice and supporting documentation to landlords beyond the 14 days is only acceptable in limited circumstances. You may inform your landlord and provide documentation by writing a letter, sending an email, or sending a text message to your landlord or your landlord’s representative. Ask a legal aid attorney for advice if you are unsure how to do this.
What kind of documentation do I need to provide my landlord to demonstrate that I cannot pay the rent as a result of COVID-19, and when do I need to provide it?
An eligible tenant must provide supporting documentation to show they cannot pay the amount of rent due because they were impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic within fourteen (14) days of receiving the written notice from the landlord.
Start collecting this documentation early! You need to provide it to your landlord as soon as possible, and will need to provide additional documentation later on if you need more time to pay your rent.
Acceptable documentation may include, but is not limited to:
- Letter or note from your job stating that you have been laid off, that your hours have been reduced, or that your place of business is closed due to COVID-19
- Letter or text message from your child’s school/pre-school/daycare regarding closures
- Text message or email from your employer asking you not to come to work
- Photo showing your place of employment is closed due to COVID-19
- Screenshots from Uber, Lyft, Instacart, DoorDash, etc. applications showing that you have experienced reduced income
- Pay stubs or copies of paychecks for a few months showing that your income has been reduced
- Medical documentation related to COVID-19
- Receipts for medical costs related to COVID-19
- A signed declaration under penalty of perjury certifying the reason why you have experienced a reduced income or difficulty paying your rent as a result of COVID-19 or the governmental response to COVID-19
The law requires that any medical or financial information provided to a landlord must be kept confidential and only used for the sole purpose of evaluating the tenant’s claim for eligibility under the emergency eviction moratorium.
If I am an eligible tenant, do I still have to pay my rent?
Yes. The emergency eviction moratorium does not relieve you of your responsibility to pay rent. If you are able to pay some portion of your rent, you must pay whatever amount you can (this amount will not be considered a “delayed payment”).
After the emergency eviction moratorium expires, you have at least 90 days but no more than 180 days to pay back the full amount of rent that you owe. If you are able to pay the full amount of rent due within ninety (90) days after the emergency eviction moratorium expires, or get help from an organization to pay the rent, then you must do so. During this period of time you will not be considered to be in default of your rent payment obligations, but your landlord can begin to seek the full amount of rent that you owe after the emergency eviction moratorium expires.
If, after 90 days you remain unable to pay the full amount of rent due, then you must provide your landlord with an additional written notice and documentation to demonstrate that you need an additional 30 days to pay the full amount of rent due. You may provide additional written notice and documentation every 30 days to further extend the deadline to pay the full amount of rent due, but landlords are not required to extend the deadline beyond 180 days (6 months) after the expiration of the eviction moratorium.
If I am an eligible tenant and have to make a Delayed Payment, can my landlord charge me late fees?
No, your landlord cannot charge or collect a late fee for any delayed payment made pursuant to the emergency eviction moratorium.
Does this emergency eviction moratorium apply everywhere in San Mateo County?
Yes, the emergency eviction moratorium applies to all incorporated cities and unincorporated areas within San Mateo County. If you live in Santa Clara County, there is an eviction moratorium there as well.
That means that if you are an eligible tenant and live in any of the following areas, you are protected by the San Mateo County eviction moratorium: Atherton, Belmont, Brisbane, Burlingame, Colma, Daly City, East Palo Alto, Foster City, Half Moon Bay, Hillsborough, Menlo Park, Millbrae, Pacifica, Portola Valley, Redwood City, San Bruno, San Carlos, San Mateo, South San Francisco, Woodside.
I live in a garage, rent a room, or live in an illegal rental unit. Does this emergency eviction moratorium protect me?
Yes. The emergency eviction moratorium applies to every residential tenant in San Mateo County, regardless of the type of unit they live in or how long they have lived there.
I received a no-fault eviction notice from my landlord prior to March 24, 2020. Am I protected by this emergency eviction moratorium?
Yes, you are protected if the no-fault eviction notice expires after March 24, 2020, provided that you did not receive an eviction notice because your landlord or your landlord’s family needs to move into the property.
No-fault eviction notices that you do not have to comply with during the state of emergency include:
- Eviction notices that give you 30, 60, or 90 days to move out without giving you a reason
- Eviction notices stating that the lease has expired and the tenant continues to occupy the property
- Eviction notices stating that you provided notice to the landlord that you would move out but you failed to do so
- Eviction notices stating that the landlord is complying with an order issued by a government agency or court relating to habitability
- Eviction notices stating that the landlord is complying with an order issued by a government agency or court to vacate the property
- Eviction notices stating that the landlord is complying with a local ordinance that requires you to move out
- Eviction notices stating that the landlord intends to demolish or substantially remodel the property
- Eviction notices stating that the landlord wants to sell the property
If you received any of these “no-fault” eviction notices prior to March 24, 2020 and the eviction notice has not yet expired, then you will likely be protected. No-fault eviction notices that have not yet expired or that you receive during the state of emergency will be treated as though you received the eviction notice the day after the emergency eviction moratorium expires.
When does this emergency eviction moratorium take effect?
The emergency eviction moratorium is effective March 24, 2020 through May 31, 2020. The County may further extend the effective dates as necessary.
What do I do if my landlord violates the emergency eviction moratorium and tries to evict me?
If your landlord has served you with an eviction notice or initiated eviction proceedings against you, please contact us right away:
Community Legal Services in East Palo Alto
Legal Aid Society of San Mateo County
I still have questions, who can I contact for assistance?
Community Legal Services in East Palo Alto
Legal Aid Society of San Mateo County
Dear friends and allies,
Life has thrown us an unimaginably difficult curveball, testing our discipline and forbearance in ways we could never have conceived. We sit at home, anxiously trying to assess what the impacts of the pandemic will be on us, our families, and the society at large. In the midst of these challenging times, though, I am pleased to say that there is uplifting news. I am writing today to tell you of extraordinary efforts that have been made to field the curveball that has been thrown our way and to protect the people in our community whose lives have suddenly been pushed to the edge.
Over the past week, social justice groups up and down the Peninsula organized very swiftly to press for a countywide ban on evictions. Recognizing that many families live paycheck to paycheck as they struggle to manage the high and burdensome rents in this area, community advocates understood that the order to shelter in place could easily result in a widespread wave of evictions.
The effort that materialized in response to this threat was breathtaking in both its intensity and speed. Faith in Action Bay Area initiated a petition to be submitted to the County Board of Supervisors, distributing it widely among its participating congregations. One San Mateo circulated the petition among its members and allies, as did other social justice groups. Reverend Penny Nixon of the Congregational Church of San Mateo led the effort to involve the Peninsula clergy. The result is that a petition calling for a countywide ban on evictions was submitted to the Board of Supervisors with nearly 800 signatures! Furthermore, at least 200 letters and emails were written to the Supervisors, some of us participated in conference calls with County staff, and others held research meetings with individual Supervisors by phone.
Under normal circumstances, the Board of Supervisors can only pass legislation covering the unincorporated areas of San Mateo County. When a state of emergency is declared, however, its powers are expanded, and it has the ability to pass laws to cover the cities as well.
Thus, the result of the advocacy effort is a sweeping piece of legislation that was passed yesterday by the Board of Supervisors in a unanimous vote. The new law accomplishes the following:
- Evictions are forbidden for nonpayment of rent resulting from COVID-19 anywhere in the county for as long as the state of emergency is in force.
- It creates a grace period of 90 to 180 days after the state of emergency ends for renters to get caught up on rent.
- A fund of $3 million is established to support individuals, nonprofits and small businesses whose survival and well-being are threatened in the coming months.
Do these events convey as many positive messages to you as they do to me? Among other things, I believe they speak volumes about the large number of deeply compassionate people in our community, about the capacity of caring folks for fierce action, about the power of coordinated advocacy to influence public policy, and about the ability of elected officials to embrace their role as custodians of the least advantaged among us. The story of the past week serves as a source of uplift in anxious times. Please keep in mind, though, that we are in the early stages of confronting this pandemic, and the months ahead are sure to bring other moments when we are called upon to raise our voices in defense of those whose lives are most fragile and who feel the pain of this crisis most keenly. When these situations arise, I hope you will be prepared to join in advocating with us. While none of us can control the curves that are thrown our way, what we can control is how we respond.
Take the best of care.
Vice Chair of One San Mateo
Please encourage anyone who receives an eviction notice to reach out to Legal Aid at (650) 558 – 0915, Community Legal Services at (650) 326 – 6440 or One San Mateo.
Can you do one last little thing to help the tenants of San Mateo County?
Based on community stakeholders’ conversations with County staff, we want to ask people to write in once more driving home the following key points:
- No-fault evictions must be included in the moratorium.
- There should be a freeze on all nonpayment evictions, not just for tenants who write to the landlord to tell them that they cannot pay the rent for a reason related to COVID-19. Landlords should have to wait until after the emergency ends to issue any Three Day Notices to Pay or Quit.
- Tenants should be allowed to notify the landlord about the reason they could not pay the rent, and provide documentation of that reason, at any time until they are actually evicted. Many tenants won’t know or understand the process until after an eviction case is filed and they meet with a lawyer.
You can write the Board of Supervisors directly at this address:
Their meeting is tomorrow morning at 9 A.M. So now is the time to act!
Thank you for following along through this process. We are deeply grateful for everyone’s help in advancing this important emergency ordinance. Given that it will affect the lives of so many people throughout San Mateo County who are doing everything they can to just hold on right now, we owe it to them to get it right.
As many of you may know, there have been various attempts to get emergency renters’ protections put in place in the light of COVID-19. The situation has continued to evolve, and at times the facts on the ground have been less than clear. So let us first tell you what we know, and then let us inform you of what you can urgently do to help.
The Governor of California has declared a state of emergency for California as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak. This puts in place a cross-section of emergency response measures to deal with the crisis. We know, for instance, that price gouging of various kinds is legally forbidden during this emergency. Likewise, the Governor has also issued an Executive Order that opens the door for counties and cities to institute a moratorium on evictions. To be clear, there is as yet no blanket moratorium covering the whole of the state of California. It falls to counties and cities to adopt their own evictions moratoria. Therefore, it also falls on us to urge them to action.
Another newly revealed fact to bear in mind: under these extraordinary emergency circumstances, the counties themselves can pass emergency ordinances covering not just all unincorporated areas of the county (as is often the case under normal legislating circumstances) but also all the cities contained in the county. This means the focus of our attention should now be directed at the County of San Mateo to quickly adopt an evictions moratorium for all of its cities.
This coming Tuesday, the Board of Supervisors will discuss a proposed evictions moratorium. Everyone reading this can greatly help by emailing the Board to impress upon them the urgent need for decisive action. At present, the two most basic things we are calling for are the following:
- An evictions moratorium for residential and commercial tenants
- A rent freeze for residential and commercial tenants
To aid you in getting off emails to the Board of Supervisors, we have included a sample letter below.
One last thing: we realize that the pain that renters and small businesses are feeling goes beyond what can be addressed by an emergency halt on evictions and rent increases. This is merely the urgent response we are calling for right now. There may come a time down the line when further advocacy is needed to help renters vulnerable to the impacts of COVID-19. We hope you will join us then as well. In the meantime, please do all you can to stay safe and to stay supportive of those around you.
Dear Supervisors Dave Pine, Carole Groom, Don Horsley, Warren Slocum, and David Canepa, and all County Staff,
As you are aware, the Executive Order issued by Governor Newsom last Monday opened the door for local jurisdictions to pass a moratorium on residential and commercial evictions. Not only did it open the door, it served as encouragement for cities and counties to do so.
The situation of the current public health emergency is utterly unprecedented in our lifetimes, and the threat to families and businesses is difficult even to comprehend. There are many people who will suffer in the coming months, and the last thing we need is for people to be thrown out of their homes or for small businesses to lose their locations. Thus I am writing today to encourage the County of San Mateo to follow up on the Governor’s Executive Order and enact an eviction ban that remains in force as long as a state of emergency exists.
Specifically, I call upon the Supervisors to enact an ordinance that:
- Establishes an emergency moratorium on evictions, protecting tenants and small businesses from eviction during the state of emergency, including units not under rent control.
- Bans eviction for non-payment if failure to pay is due to following local health guidance; self-quarantine, illness or the illness of a family member; or loss of income related to COVID-19
- Freezes rents at the current levels for the duration of the state of emergency
- Provides for delayed rent collection after the end of state of emergency, with no late fees
Most importantly, I urge you to pass an ordinance that applies countywide, i.e. to all cities in San Mateo County, as well as the unincorporated areas.
Thank you for your attention to this very important matter. While many in the community had hoped for a statewide eviction ban, the Governor has left the matter in your hands. Thus we look to you to act with the force and decisiveness that is appropriate to the urgent situation facing the community today.