The San Francisco Bay Area has a reputation for being a kind of “queer promised land,” says filmmaker Tom Shepard. In the documentary “Unsettled,” that notion is put to the test. The film follows four LGBT refugees as they try to build new lives in San Francisco after fleeing violence and discrimination in their home countries.
A landlords’ group plans to sue San Francisco over tenant protections established in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, according to the organization’s executive director. The Board of Supervisors this month approved a permanent ban on evictions for rents unpaid from mid-March through July. An earlier local eviction moratorium would have allowed landlords to start pursuing evictions of tenants for any remaining unpaid rents — even those due during the emergency — by the end of December. The end date of the eviction ban is based on an executive order by Gov. Gavin Newsom, who could extend the time period. The switch to a permanent ban galvanized the San Francisco Apartment Association, a property owners group with thousands of members, to threaten legal action.
Construction sites are coming back to life throughout San Francisco, but the surge in activity may not last long. Builders pulled 334 permits last week, up from zero 10 weeks earlier as the coronavirus shutdown took effect. That puts construction activity at about 58% of normal. In the year leading up to Mayor London Breed’s mid-March order for construction to cease, City Hall received about 580 permit applications a week. The number of permits has been on a slow climb since hitting zero, and began to accelerate on May 4, when Breed allowed construction to fully resume.
San Francisco has approved temporary encampments to slow the spread of COVID-19. But in Seattle, a half-decade experiment with regulated sites has proved so much more successful at getting people off the streets than other solutions that officials recently voted to expand it fourfold.
The coronavirus pandemic has cost millions their jobs, and that means many tenants haven’t been able to pay rent, landlords have had trouble making mortgage payments and other bills are also stacking up. Debts can be sold to collections agencies, and even keep renters from accessing affordable housing.
Residents struggling to pay for housing due to the coronavirus pandemic have requested more assistance than what is available through City Hall.
Seven protesters from Poor Magazine, a publication and activist organization, attempted to occupy the Marriott Marquis hotel in downtown San Francisco on Monday morning to demand that the city house more homeless residents in the thousands of hotel rooms left vacant during the coronavirus pandemic.
A Mission District coronavirus testing initiative has shown stark disparities in who has been getting sick — 95% of those who tested positive in this initiative identified as Hispanic or Latinx. Most earned less than $50,000 a year. But evidence of this disparity had been mounting even prior to the testing, when doctors in San Francisco hospitals saw that the majority of the coronavirus patients who needed to be hospitalized were also Latino.
The same day tenant advocates in San Francisco organized a car caravan demonstration calling for the cancellation of rent, two homeless women, Couper Orona and Jess Gonzalez, briefly occupied a long-vacant home in the Castro before police removed them.
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Nonprofits that serve people who need emergency help with their rent are seeing requests surge from a new class of clients — those who were previously financially secure but have lost their jobs due to COVID-19. But red tape is complicating their efforts to help the newly jobless, the groups say.