Tag Archives: house

Governor Newsom on Staying Housed and Staying Healthy

As November approaches, millions of Americans are preparing for the most consequential election of our lifetimes. So much is at stake, and I encourage all Californians who can cast a ballot to take this opportunity to shape the future of our country.

But it’s also a time of dread for people who are having a hard time financially. The first of the month is approaching, and rent is coming due.

If you are struggling to make rent and worried about eviction, know that you are not alone. In the Capitol, we are working hard to help you keep a roof over your head, and there are new resources and protections available to you right now.

Tackling the housing crisis in California has been a priority for me since my first days in office. Access to safe and affordable housing is a cornerstone of the California Dream, one that must stay in reach of all Californians. For decades, the high cost of housing in California has been making it harder for families to get by, much less get ahead. Last year, we took action to help more Californians stay in their homes by enacting the strongest renter protections anywhere in the nation.

But the COVID-19 pandemic presented us with even more challenges. Millions of Californians are potentially facing eviction this fall due to the impact of COVID-19—because they’ve lost jobs or hours, gotten sick or faced new costs like childcare. An eviction or foreclosure is always devastating, but it takes on a new danger amid a pandemic, when having a place to stay home and stay safe is so important.

While the COVID-19 pandemic has affected all of us, it has not affected all of us equally. The impacts of COVID on lives and livelihoods have had disproportionate impacts on our diverse communities. Census data from July 2020 showed that, of all California renters who had fallen behind on rent, three-quarters were Latino or Black.

In partnership with the Legislature, we passed a bill to help people who had fallen behind on rent if they were impacted economically by COVID.

So if you owe rent from March 2020 through today because you were affected by COVID – if you lost your job, got sick or had your hours cut – you are protected from being evicted if you can take a few simple steps.

Here’s how it works.

If your landlord gives you a notice to “pay or quit” – saying you have a certain amount of time to pay the rent you owe, or you have to move out – but you can’t pay the full amount because you were affected by COVID, you can fill out a document and give it to your landlord.

It is called the Tenant Distress Form, and you can find it on our new HousingIsKey.ca.gov website. It is available in English, Chinese, Korean, Spanish, Tagalog, and Vietnamese.

Sign it and don’t delay. You must give your landlord this document within 15 days after you receive the “pay or quit” notice to be protected from eviction.

You still owe the past rent, but if you cannot pay full rent because of COVID, you can’t get evicted for any rental debt that accrued between March and August of this year.

And so long as you further pay at least 25 percent of the rent due between September of this year and January of next year, then you cannot be evicted for unpaid rent for that period, either.

While this bill will give tenants some room to breathe, it is not permanent. As of now, the protection for evictions lasts only until February 1, 2021.

That’s why we’ve been continuing to advocate for action from the federal government to help protect renters. We have made remarkable progress in helping more Californians keep a roof over their heads during this emergency, but even a state as large and influential as ours cannot tackle a national crisis on our own.

We continue to ask the federal government to help us protect renters and homeowners, as well as other important steps like extending unemployment insurance and fully funding essential services like health, nutrition, education, and childcare. We have also asked for support for state and local governments that are battling COVID-19 and facing difficult choices about their budgets.

Without federal support for renters and homeowners, anyone out of a job, behind on their housing payments, or struggling with medical bills will potentially face the prospect of losing their home. That’s not right, it’s not fair and it’s not good for our economy or communities.

Investing in our renters can make a big difference around the country. It would help stabilize the housing market, help America recover from the devastating economic impacts of the pandemic, and keep people in their homes.

No matter what happens in this election or in D.C., California will keep doing everything in our power to help everyone stay safe, healthy and housed during this crisis – because all Californians deserve a place to call home.

You can find more information about your rights and get access to low- or no-cost legal help at https://lawhelpca.org/


Gavin Newsom is the Governor of California, formerly Lieutenant Governor of California and Mayor of San Francisco. Governor Newsom is married to Jennifer Siebel Newsom. Newsom has been a pioneer on same-sex marriage, gun safety, marijuana, the death penalty, universal health care, access to preschool, technology, criminal justice reform, and the minimum wage, which has led to sweeping changes when his policies were ultimately accepted, embraced, and replicated across the state and nation.

The article is published with permission from the original author

Featured Image by Gage Skidmore.

Filoli: A Bay Area Gem

Filoli Historic House & Garden is the magic place to warm your hearts and rejuvenate your spirit in every season. A member of the 27-property National Trust for Historic Preservation, this Northern California treasure is the perfect escape from the high tech-low touch world for people of all ages. 

Stroll the 16-acres of landscape Garden and take a selfie surrounded by beautiful blooms and orchid displays. Explore the 54,000 square foot historic House with an architectural tour. Ponder the lovely handcrafted Filoli products in the Clock Tower shop. 

Enjoy live cultural events in the historic ballroom, including music, dance, and theater. Take a class in art, horticulture, or floral design. For those who love the great outdoors, you can hike for mushrooms and explore the greenhouses in the 654-acre Estate. 

Even if you’d like to simply enjoy each other’s company in a bucolic setting, you’ll find Filoli is equally suitable for families, singles or couples.

Located in Woodside on the Peninsula, Filoli is closer than you think. People who discover Filoli for the first time tend to return to experience the seasonal blooms, events and themes. Many become members.

 

Open everyday of the week, 10:00 am – 5:00 pm, rain or shine.

Give us a try!

For tickets and information: https://filoli.org/visit/ 

Use code CURRENTS for $2 off admission. Restrictions apply.

Facebook: #filoli

Instagram: _filoli

Twitter: @_filoli

 

A Jewel in a Sparkling Connection

I was a teenager when I first read V.S. Naipaul’s A House For Mr. Biswas. That was 17 years ago. It was an assigned book in my Toronto high school English class. Ours was a program of rare multicultural outlook, thanks to my teacher, Anne Carrier. You see, back in 1984 it was unheard of to be exposed to Asian or Caribbean literature in a North American high school, an oversight which still seems trivial to white or non-immigrant Americans and Canadians today. But make no mistake, then as now, there is inherent value in an enriched global reading list. Written in 1961, Biswas was an unanticipated treasure of validation, a fresh alien gem atop the well-thumbed Faulkners, Salingers, and Twains.

My family had immigrated from Guyana 15 years earlier during a time when Asian Indian culture was mysterious enough to the mainstream. Indo-Caribbean language, history, and behavior were yet years away from entering the awareness of the general public, and would prove a near impossibility to explain or to describe to friends and teachers. As any immigrant child will attest, there are few things more isolating than cultural loneliness. It serves as an impenetrable barrier that separates one from friends and colleagues, and compels both a heightened closeness and subtle resentment towards family members, ironically the only people who truly share the condition.

So the discovery of Indo-Caribbean literature at such an impressionable age was doubly important. I recall well the awe, nervousness, and excitement elicited from Biswas’s opening pages. It was set in Trinidad, mere miles from my birthplace of Guyana! Its major characters were Indians descended from indentured servants, the same as me and mine! The book’s cadence of angst and subdued anger—an alternation that ripples through all post-colonial societies, yet is missing from most American literature—kept beat with the displacement in my own heart. And, most interesting, the rhythm and tonality of the characters’ speech was the singsong Caribbean patois with which I had grown up. You see, that way of talking was a source of shame to many early immigrants; Jamaican cool was yet to reach North America and give public resonance to the Caribbean modality. To have discovered its usage within the pages of a book validated by no less than the Toronto Board of Education was to truly realize personal cultural arrival.

A drawing of 'A House for Mr. Biswas'
A drawing of ‘A House for Mr. Biswas’

The book itself tells a simple story. It begins with the emergence into this world of Mohun Biswas, “six-fingered and born in the wrong way,” foreshadowing the bad luck he would have and cause. A poor journalist turned civil servant, Biswas lives a brief humorous life punctuated by battles with his in-laws and a strained relationship with his writer son, the essence of his angst symbolized by his quest for a house of his own. Naipaul’s genius is in elevating the seemingly mundane and comedic to themes of timeless importance, injecting his writing with subtle imagery and allegory. His hated in-laws the Tulsis, for example, live in a home called “Hanuman House.” That Hanuman is the Hindu monkey god is Naipaul’s sly intimation of the house’s more zoological or chaotic nature.

The allegory of Biswas is an inspiring one. Mohun Biswas is compelled toward a rebellious nature through various cultural traditions for which he has little patience. Biswas is at the bottom rung of society because of his work, family history, and poorness. He is further at the bottom of the pecking order in his extended family, kept there by the weighty demands of his culture. But a modern hero infected with frequent emotional outbursts, his aspirations are never quelled. After enduring a beating by an in-law, Biswas declares, “I am going to get a job on my own. And I am going to get my own house too. I am finished with this.” The goal of any descendant of indentured servants has yet to be better or more simply stated.

In many ways, Biswas is the Indian-Caribbean archetype, a man from an ancient cultural tradition of castes and unnavigable religions whose sudden proximity to the world of Western modernity fills him with hope for more. His behavior is sometimes reprehensible, but his predicament is one with which so many of us, particularly Indians caught up in a new world, can relate. His quest for a house of his own mirrors well the quest of colonized peoples for a nation and an identity of their own. To appreciate the plight of Biswas is to understand the history of his nation and that of the entire Indian-Caribbean milieu: a people uniquely positioned between the rich traditions of the East and the commercial demands and promises of the West, yet tragically benefiting from neither.

East Indian Coolies in Trinidad
East Indian Coolies in Trinidad

V.S. Naipaul, knighted in 1990, was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 2001, taking his place among literary immortals like Rudyard Kipling, Ernest Hemingway, and Rabindranath Tagore. They say he was honored “for having united perceptive narrative and incorruptible scrutiny in works that compel us to see the presence of suppressed histories.” Certainly, A House for Mr. Biswas is but one jewel in the sparkling collection of the life’s work that earned him the award, as it slyly tells of Indian-Caribbean emotional history within the modern dynamic of cultural collisions.

It is generally agreed that the story of Biswas is largely autobiographical, with Biswas’s writer son being Naipaul’s literary avatar. Hence Biswas is likely the tome for which this great writer will be most fondly remembered throughout the ages. For those unfamiliar with his books, Biswas is an excellent beginning point. It was certainly mine, and started me on a marvellous path of literary adventure and self-discovery.

Raywat Deonandan is the author of Sweet Like Saltwater (TSAR Books, 1999). www.deonandan.com.