Tag Archives: eviction

Solano County passes COVID-19 Tenants’ Rights Resolution

Common Ground press release, April 28, 2020

Common Ground Spearheads Solano County COVID Tenants’ Rights Resolution

Solano County Board of Supervisors pass measure to protect housing stability and health

Some good news in these trying times: renters in Solano County who have lost income due to COVID-19 can stay in their homes, thanks to the County Supervisors, Common Ground, and other partners and residents who brought the issue forward.

Building on momentum from last summer’s action to assist tenants of Vallejo’s Strawberry Hill and Holiday Gardens apartments, Common Ground coordinated efforts to draft a county resolution to help tenants and landlords navigate the financial storm of the COVID-19 State of Emergency. The resolution provides guidance for paying back rents owed, once the State of Emergency ends, and gives tenants a full year to pay.

Common Ground members realized that a short-term eviction moratorium would only delay a massive wave of evictions that would lead to an economic and a public health disaster—a humanitarian crisis for thousands of people in Solano County.

Common Ground partnered with allies, including tenant attorneys, Fair Housing Napa Valley, Vallejo Housing Justice Coalition, the Napa-Solano Central Labor Council, and Bay Area Regional Health Inequities Initiative, and researched other municipalities. Then, Common Ground presented recommendations to the county supervisors.

On Tuesday, the County Board of Supervisors adopted a resolution which builds on statewide protections, allowing tenants to negotiate a payment schedule for unpaid rent for up to one year after the State of Emergency is lifted. The resolution also prohibits late fees during this period. Here is a link to the Board’s Agenda item:


“Essentially, the rent debt due to the COVID-19 emergency should be treated like any other kind of consumer debt: credit cards, utilities, etc. We aren’t denying people access to water or electricity if they can’t pay– we give them a grace period to pay back what they owe because these things are basic necessities. The same should be true for rents” said David Lindsay of Benicia, chair of Common Ground’s housing team.

Common Ground members are grateful to members of the community who shared their stories, to their partner organizations, and for the willingness of various elected officials to engage in dialogue for the common good.

Bishop Bryan Harris of Vallejo’s Emmanuel Temple Apostolic Church stated “We are grateful for the work that Common Ground has done in the community, and it’s essential that groups like Common Ground stand up for people in need–especially in times like these, where we don’t want to see people being taken advantage of.”

Founded in 2013, Common Ground is made up of diverse religious and non-profits organizations in Solano and Napa Counties. It is a broad-based, non-partisan organization that addresses issues facing our communities by building relationships and supplying members with leadership and organizing skills.

Support for Solano County Emergency Renter Protection Ordinance

Posting here at the request of David Lindsay, for Common Ground California, April 21, 2020

Support for Solano County Emergency Renter Protection Ordinance

San Jose City Council approves emergency ordinance barring ...

According to the Insight Center for Community Economic Development, nearly 30,000 families in Solano County were one paycheck away from financial ruin before the Covid19 crisis.

Common Ground has heard stories from hundreds of such families in our 11 member congregations and non-profit institutions across Napa and Solano Counties. Landlords need relief, but renters and the homeless are under immediate threat to their survival.

While recent state actions will prevent evictions during the emergency period and for 90 days after, there could still be a tsunami of evictions afterwards, triggering a flood of homelessness and a public health disaster. To prevent this, we should treat unpaid rent during this time like any other consumer debt, such as utility and credit card bills, and guarantee renters the opportunity for a payment plan.

Requests for food and rental assistance at local agencies like Catholic Charities and Society of St. Vincent DePaul have already skyrocketed. The families in our congregations who miss two months of rent at even a modest $2,000 per month will need an extra $4,000 to pay it back; even 90 days afterwards, it’s simply unrealistic to expect that they will have the money to pay.

Common Ground CaliforniaCommon Ground has been working with tenant attorneys and county staff to research and draft a common-sense county ordinance providing a 12-month grace period for repaying rent and prohibiting late fees. This ordinance, modeled after successful ordinances in San Mateo and Santa Clara counties, would allow individual tenants and landlords to work out a payment schedule so families can stay in their homes, and landlords can become whole, using whatever resources and state aid become available. We also advocate suspending late fees and utility fees, which legal services organizations report that some unscrupulous companies are using as a back-door grounds for eviction.

Finally, we call on the county to staff a bilingual hotline for tenants and landlords, and to keep this hotline available after the crisis subsides. Hotlines in Contra Costa and San Mateo Counties are reporting high call volume, with landlords and tenants both in need of its services.

While state action is needed to enhance the existing mortgage forbearance for landlords, our county has the power to protect renters, and should do so. Burned into our nation’s collective memory are photos of Great-Depression-era shanty towns, where even middle-income earners evicted from their homes were forced to live in squalor on the outskirts of American cities. Many of the “essential workers” currently laboring at personal risk to their own health to keep our food supply intact, and staff our medical facilities, are renters. Protecting them will provide more stability post-COVID, both for individuals and the local economy. With unemployment in Solano County currently at 10%, and with some predicting that the national rate will reach 30%, higher than the highest rate during the Depression, let’s make sure that the photos left behind for posterity from this crisis will not show our neighbors sheltered in sprawling, unsanitary tent cities in our county, on our watch.

Common Ground Member Institutions:
St. Vincent Ferrer Catholic Church, Vallejo, CA
St. Basil the Great Catholic Church, Vallejo, CA
First Christian Church of Vallejo, Vallejo, CA
United in Grace Lutheran Church, Vallejo, CA
Congregation B’Nai Israel, Vallejo, CA
Vallejo Education Association, Vallejo, CA
Napa Valley Unitarian Universalists, Napa, CA
Napa Valley Lutheran Church, Napa, CA
Holy Spirit Catholic Church, Fairfield, CA
Fairfield Suisun Teachers Association, Fairfield, CA
St. Catherine of Siena Catholic Church, Vallejo, CA
Supporting Affiliate: Emmanuel Temple Apostolic Church, Vallejo, CA

United Food and Commercial Workers–Local 5
Napa Solano Central Labor Council
Catholic Charities of Yolo Solano
Vallejo Together
Fr. Blaise Berg, St. Mary’s Catholic Church