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Santa Barbara County Supervisors Das Williams and Gregg Hart have put forward an Urgency Ordinance, calling for a moratorium on foreclosures and evictions as the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic is pulling the rug out from under thousands of workers who found themselves newly unemployed less than two weeks before rent is due. Evictions caused by a loss of income or medical expense related to COVID-19 would be prohibited, but the ordinance would not suspend a tenant’s obligation to pay rent, although some have called for a moratorium on rental and mortgage payments as incomes collapse due to the effect of the pandemic on the economy. Some authorities have already started to take steps in this direction, such as New York state, where Governor Andrew Cuomo has issued a 90-day suspension of mortgage payments.
In a press release, Hart and Williams stated, “We must avoid the creation of a greater public health emergency that would result from subjecting families to homelessness. It is imperative we do everything possible to make sure people are safe and secure in their homes and that we prevent eviction.”
The two supervisors will urge their colleagues to approve the moratorium at this Tuesday’s Board of Supervisors meeting. Those wishing to watch the meeting can do so at http://www.countyofsb.org/ceo/csbtv/livestream.sbc or on YouTube at: https://www.youtube.com/user/CSBTV20. Those wishing to submit a comment can do so by emailing the Clerk of the Board at firstname.lastname@example.org. Comments can be a maximum of 250 words.