LOS ANGELES — Demonstrators who gathered again Sunday outside the home of Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti called on the city to cancel rents for people finding it hard to make ends meet as the coronavirus pandemic ravages California’s economy.
Tenant rights activists statewide have for weeks urged leaders to take additional action to prevent Californians from losing their apartments and falling into homelessness as expanded unemployment benefits expire while virus cases continue to surge.
The state court system is considering lifting its emergency restrictions on processing eviction cases later this month, the Los Angeles Times reported.
Since March, the pandemic has caused millions of Californians to lose their jobs.
California has tallied more than a half-million confirmed virus cases, with more than 9,220 deaths.
The number of infections is thought to be far higher because many people have not been tested, and studies suggest people can be infected with the virus without feeling sick.
For most people, the new coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough that clear up in two to three weeks. For some — especially older adults and people with existing health problems — it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia, and death.
Three people were arrested and two were cited during a protest Saturday outside Garcetti’s home west of downtown Los Angeles, the Times reported. The mayor’s office didn’t immediately comment.
Hundreds of demonstrators demanded the city impose a blanket ban on evictions, cancel rents and commandeer hotels for homeless people.
The Los Angeles city attorney’s office has warned against canceling rents, advising council members in a memo that it would violate the law and could cost the city more than a billion dollars in compensation to landlords, the newspaper said.