Good evening, National City Councilmembers. My name is Branden Sigua, and I am a senior policy advocate at the ACLU of San Diego & Imperial Counties. Housing is a basic human right.

To create a more just society, we must work to end housing policies and practices that disproportionately lock out marginalized communities from safe and stable housing. Every person deserves dignity and safety.

The displacement caused by the recent historic flooding has threatened National City families with health risks and homelessness. The economic fallout of the flooding is severe and widespread — we must protect residents who are living paycheck to paycheck from the real and urgent threats of eviction, displacement from property condemnation and homelessness.

An eviction moratorium is only one necessary solution in a larger conversation that needs to take place. We must ensure that residents impacted by the flood are provided with the support they need, both now and in the future.

We urge the Council to pass an eviction moratorium and to include the following additional protections as recommended by community partners such as the Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment (ACCE), Pillars of the Community and Exhaling Injustice:

  • Extend the eviction moratorium until at least 60-90 days after the City’s state of emergency has been lifted. · Permanently require “just cause” for eviction, so landlords are unable to capitalize on “substantial remodels” after this disaster and raise crisis-level rents even higher. · Prohibit any unlawful rent increases as a result of repairing flood-related damage.
  • The City should do everything in its power to implement rental assistance programs to ensure residents maintain their housing stability, even while displaced from their homes due to flood-related health risks. This assistance should remain in place until all necessary repairs are made to ensure the health, safety and stability of all impacted residents.
  • In addition, we urge the City to provide relocation assistance, including deposit assistance and credit repair, to affected residents who are unable to return to homes deemed beyond repair.

We urge you to pass an eviction moratorium that includes the outlined protections to grant families some peace of mind and stability as they reconstruct their lives in the wake of this tragedy. Thank you.