Photo Credits: TESSA KOGA / AGGIE
Short Term Emergency Aid Committee extends its renter-assistance services to help with late payments
As the COVID-19 crisis continues, the Short Term Emergency Aid Committee (STEAC) in Davis is preparing to financially help renters when the local eviction moratorium expires.
The Davis City Council’s briefing of the moratorium outlines that tenants still have an obligation to pay what they can and that full rental payments will eventually be due.
“The tenant shall pay the portion of the rent the tenant is able to pay,” the website reads. “The tenant is not relieved of liability for unpaid rent, which the landlord may seek after the expiration of the local emergency. The tenant must pay back rent within six months of the expiration of the local emergency.”
As of May 14, Davis is still in a state of emergency and has extended its stay-at-home order to May 31.
STEAC Executive Director Liane Moody said that although the moratoriums are helpful, the backed-up rent payments will be due at some point and affected individuals will still have difficulties paying them.
“While it’s been wonderful that the governor and the city have passed moratoriums, as soon as those moratoriums are up, we expect there to be a huge amount of eviction notices,” Moody said. “So we’re getting ready so that we can provide as much support as possible and keep as many people from becoming homeless as possible.”
Councilmember Lucas Frerichs echoed a similar sentiment in a statement included in the briefing. He explains that assisting renters is important because they could otherwise be evicted from their properties, which would leave the city empty.
“During this unprecedented time, it is imperative for us to attempt to help those — both commercial and residential tenants — that will most need assistance so that we don’t end up with additional vacant storefronts, empty houses and apartments throughout Davis,” Frerichs said.
Although there is uncertainty around when Davis will lift its state of emergency declaration, Moody said she expects to receive more appeals for aid in rental payments in a few months.
“Our current thinking is that it’s going to be near the end of the summer, but things seem to change every day — we’re just trying to make sure that we have the resources available to keep as many people housed as possible,” Moody said.
The STEAC website states that one of the organization’s goals is to “help Yolo County’s low-income residents through an emergency in order to keep them from joining the rank of the homeless.”
Moody explained that the STEAC has helped renters facing eviction to pay back late rent even before the crisis.
“We do a lot in terms of preventing evictions,” Moody said. “We help low-income families and individuals who have an eviction notice pay off that rent so that they can stay housed and not become homeless.”
After requesting donations from the Davis community, the STEAC posted on Facebook that the money will be put towards its resources for helping renters.
“During this COVID-19 crisis, STEAC is continuing to […] provide food and support for rent, utilities, and other needs to help struggling families make ends meet,” the post reads. “We are now preparing for a large increase in need for help with rent and utilities, and donations received today will be an important resource for meeting those needs.”
The STEAC was able to raise nearly $60,000 from this fundraiser. Moody explained that although this crisis has been filled with hardships, she’s grateful for the support of the Davis community.
“It’s been difficult, but we’re lucky in that we’re an organization that’s very well supported by the community,” Moody said. “And when work like this ramps up — that’s what we’re here for, so we’re happy to do that.”
Written by: Eden Winniford –– firstname.lastname@example.org