By David Lindsay | Times-Herald

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 COVID-19 crisis. Common Ground has heard stories from hundreds of such families in our 11-member congregations and nonprofit 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.

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