SAN JOSE (KPIX 5) — San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo has a plan to prevent federal workers from being evicted if they miss rent payments during the government shutdown.
“Today, I’m announcing a plan to modify our tenant protection ordinance,” said Liccardo at a city hall news briefing on Wednesday.
At a special city council meeting on Thursday, Liccardo will introduce an urgency ordinance that would freeze evictions of federal employees for non-payment of rent for up to 90 days.
“It would, for that very temporary time or until the shutdown ends, modify our ordinance, taking away the ability to evict for non-payment of rent for that category of tenants, those who rely on the federal government for their salary or rental vouchers,” Liccardo said.
“It could really, really help me because it would enable us to stay in our home,” said Ashley McQueen, who works at NASA in Mountain View but lives in San Jose.
She is a single mom who supports three children and she is afraid of losing her apartment if the shutdown drags on.
“This is really terrible and its frustrating to see a paycheck that has nothing but zeroes on it. And the rent is over $2,000 a month.”
McQueen says she will most likely miss her second paycheck in a row this Friday. She said she has enough savings to last one more month, but after that, she doesn’t know what she will do.
“A lot of my family is back east, so I’m actually facing the prospect of transporting my kids back east so I can come up with another plan, because I’m the breadwinner. That’s a worst case scenario.”
Liccardo says the city is also looking into some temporary relief for landlords, such as breaks on city fees or taxes to help compensate for lost rent.
Ms. McQueen says the real solution–an end to the shutdown–doesn’t seem immediately likely. So for her, Liccardo’s proposal could be the next best thing.
San Jose is also weighing a proposal to provide no-interest, short term loans to about 500 federal workers at Mineta San Jose International airport so they won’t have to find temporary jobs and can continue to keep the airport operating during the shutdown.