Housing advocates and protesters gathered outside of Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi’s (D-CA) house in San Francisco during the weekend, protesting against her failing to extend the national eviction moratorium.
Over 40 activists chanted and protested outside Pelosi’s Pacific Heights house on Saturday, culminating in the protesters attaching a fake eviction notice to her door.
Our Congresswoman needs to convene Congress to extend the eviction moratorium. pic.twitter.com/4Hrpb0OMnZ
— Jackie Fielder (@JackieFielder_) July 31, 2021
“Dear Speaker Pelosi, you are hereby given immediate notice that millions of Americans will face eviction tonight when the eviction moratorium expires,” began the letter.
“We call upon you to immediately call Congress to session to vote to extend the eviction moratorium and keep people in their homes. We’re in the midst of the second-worst COVID surge to date and this is not the time to allow evictions to begin.
“Housing is a human right #evictionmorotorium #eviction crisis.”
Protesters there remained peaceful during the entire demonstration, with some law enforcement members watching just in case.
“We were not going to start anything,” said one protester there who wished to remain anonymous to the Globe on Monday. “It’s just that a lot of people will be forced out into the street now and that something had to be done. Martin Luther put up his theses and started an entire church reformation 500 years ago. Maybe this gesture can help bring attention to her not doing anything about this crisis and putting on a new, extended deadline.”
The protest was spurred by House Democrats failing to renew the national eviction moratorium on Friday. Democrats at first blamed the White House on Friday for not giving House Democratic leaders enough time to organize a counter to extend the moratorium.
“Really, we only learned about this yesterday,” explained Pelosi. “Not really enough time to socialize it within our caucus to build the consensus necessary. I have no criticism of the administration for what they are doing for what they see as the law.”
A failed moratorium extension
However, Pelosi and others soon blamed House Republicans for blocking any extension to go forward. Democratic leaders also began calling on the White House to intervene and renew the moratorium themselves. Many House members also took extreme measures to draw attention to the moratorium, such as Congresswoman Cori Bush (D-MO) who slept on the steps of the U.S. Capitol during the weekend.
Good morning. The eviction moratorium expires tonight at midnight.
We could have extended it yesterday, but some Democrats went on vacation instead.
We slept at the Capitol last night to ask them to come back and do their jobs.
Today’s their last chance. We’re still here. pic.twitter.com/vnwIrAokll
— Cori Bush (@CoriBush) July 31, 2021
“Ensuring every American has a roof overhead is a fundamental value that unites the Democratic Party and that personally drives the Speaker,” said Pelosi’s office on Monday. “Speaker Pelosi led a relentless campaign to extend the CDC eviction moratorium. In an act of pure cruelty, Republicans blocked this measure — callously leaving children and families out on the streets.”
Proponents of the moratorium end countered that it was necessary due to the end of lockdowns and many sectors, including the housing sector, being harmed by extended moratoriums.
“Ask any landlord and they’ll tell you how much they’re hurting,” explained Los Angeles-based rental expert Tim Gardener to the Globe. “They’ve been carrying the rent and tax burden for a year and a half now. It’s time to stop it. Many have gone under, especially smaller mom and pop rental units. We need to do what’s right by them too.”
As of Monday, the efforts of the protesters and House members have not caused the House to reconvene or the White House to give a response. Many have called out many House members going on vacation rather than vote, as well as President Biden not responding to any of the attempts to each him on the issue.
“Since Friday—when some colleagues chose early vacation over voting to prevent evictions—we’ve been at the Capitol. It’s an eviction emergency. Our people need an eviction moratorium. Now,” tweeted Bush on Monday.
Despite the national eviction moratorium now being suspended, California’s eviction moratorium, extended by Governor Gavin Newsom in June, will last until September 30th pending further extension.
“Nancy, don’t pin this on just Republicans. We exercise our vote so you can exercise your vote on behalf of us. Call the eviction moratorium to a vote. Reconvene Congress,” tweeted Fielder.
Nancy, don’t pin this on just Republicans. We exercise our vote so you can exercise your vote on behalf of us. Call the eviction moratorium to a vote. Reconvene Congress.
— Jackie Fielder (@JackieFielder_) August 1, 2021