The National Lawyers Guilds of Los Angeles (NLG-LA) is disappointed and concerned by the decision by the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors to end COVID-19 tenant protections by the end of 2022. This decision comes as Los Angeles is experiencing both a housing crisis and an ongoing wave of COVID-19. We believe in prioritizing the rights of people over property, and we are disappointed that the Board of Supervisors does not share that priority. This decision disregards the burdens of working-class Los Angelenos.
The COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in financial, social, and emotional hardships for everyone in Los Angeles County. These burdens are being disproportionately carried by working-class Los Angelenos. It is unconscionable for the Board of Supervisors to create an environment in which landlords can mitigate their financial losses, especially when such relief is difficult to obtain for their tenants. On the federal level, Section 8 waitlists are months, even years long. On the state and local levels, existing rental assistance programs are wholly inadequate to address the scope of the current housing crisis.
The National Lawyers Guild is the country’s oldest gender and race-inclusive bar association established based on the belief that human rights should be regarded as more sacred than property interests. In this instance, we believe that the County Board of Supervisors is sending the message that human rights are subservient to property interests.
The Board of Supervisors must address the housing crisis’s underlying causes, including a skyrocketing cost of living while wage growth remains stagnant. Housing is a basic human necessity, and every human deserves the dignity of a home. We stand ready to support our partners working tirelessly to address the housing crisis and call on the Board of Supervisors to reconsider this decision. Removing protections during a housing crisis is the wrong decision and will only lead to an increase in the number of unhoused people in Los Angeles County.