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Rolling Protest For Rent Forgiveness

Above photo: Tenant advocates lead a car-caravan protest in the Windsor Square area of Los Angeles on Sunday, March 29,2020. The protesters demanded a total moratorium on evictions during the coronavirus crisis, complete rent forgiveness and/or rent suspension, and immediate use of hotel and motel rooms to provide housing to unhoused residents. Gene Blevins.

Protesting in a method that aligned with the social distancing urged by the state, county and city, tenant advocates climbed into their vehicles and rolled past the traditional Los Angeles Mayor’s residence — Getty House in Windsor Square — in a demonstration intended to urge Mayor Eric Garcetti to support sweeping anti-eviction measures amid the widening coronavirus crisis.

The protesters, rolling up and down the street in cars bearing pro-eviction-ban messages, called for a complete moratorium on evictions, full rent forgiveness or the suspension of rent for those who can’t afford it and making hotel and motel rooms available for people without homes.

In a marathon meeting on Friday, the City Council passed a collection of measures providing protection for people hit hard by business closures, layoffs and other aftershocks of the pandemic. The council extended the city’s ban on residential and commercial evictions, embraced paid sick leave for many employees and supported safeguards for “essential” workers at businesses allowed to stay open.

The council’s approved version of the eviction moratorium allows renters 12 months to pay back rent — double the originally proposed six months. But some believe more of a blanket ban on evictions is needed, and they challenged that measure — and the mayor’s and governor’s versions, too — as being too limited amid a public health crisis that could push many people out of their dwellings into homelessness. They said the approved moratoriums only give people a defense against evictions later in court, and then, only if they could prove they were directly affected by the coronavirus.

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