Meeting Time: April 08, 2021 at 9:00am PDT
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Agenda Item

4-B ID 21-504 RESOLUTION - Creating the Rental Mediation Program

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    Andrea Mangano at April 07, 2021 at 1:39pm PDT

    The people renting are usually part of some of the most vulnerable categories of our community, which means they are at high risk of exploitation from people who want to abuse their power. As citizens of Fresno, it is our city responsibility to ensure their safety and fair treatment. I believe Right to Council will help way more

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    Chelsea Cogburn at April 07, 2021 at 12:31pm PDT

    I oppose the Rental Mediation Program, and request that the City Council instead adopt the Right to Council/Eviction Diversion Program.

    When the eviction moratorium ends on June 30th, thousands of residents will be at risk of losing their housing, and many of them will be forced into the street. The RMP is a dozen steps short of addressing this problem - a problem that will assuredly devastate the lives of numerous Fresno residents.

    Instead, Fresno should adopt a plan similar to those that have succeeded in New York and Baltimore, both of which have enacted plans that use the RTC/EDP framework. If Fresno is serious about dealing with the issue of homelessness, the city should not enact a program that will exacerbate the problem, and must instead look for a solution that keeps people in their homes.

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    N R at April 07, 2021 at 11:13am PDT

    I strongly oppose rental mediation program. I strongly support the Fresno Right to Counsel Coalition. To me home is a place where your in a safe environment with family. To feel safe as a renter in Fresno is not to be stressed financially and have landlords who are supportive and understandable. As well as living in a clean environment and have proper maintenance. During the pandemic of COVID-19 many families are struggling with housing problems and some are even homeless due to the virus. I urge the city council to support the Right to Council Coalition in order to help those people in need.

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    Lyneth Alacar at April 07, 2021 at 10:40am PDT

    I strongly oppose rental mediation program. I strongly support and in favor for the Fresno Right to Counsel Coalition. Regardless of this pandemic and the times we are in, many people suffer on a daily basis with housing crisis and homelessness. The pandemic adds more stress and fear for tenants of Fresno because majority of the population have been laid off and there’s more struggle to meet the deadline of payments. Theres a rise of being financially unstable and vulnerability because there’s an urgency that people are put in and could never fulfill. No one ever wants to be in such a position. There’s so much people can do to help themselves and the RTC program strongly supports and fights for those in need of housing and representation to bring hope and light for their crucial needs, especially having a home where they can feel safe and secure.

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    Jessica Ramirez at April 07, 2021 at 10:38am PDT

    I strongly oppose rental mediation program, I do however support the Fresno Right to Counsel . We need renter protections for our people.I am an experienced of reality of homeless with my kids this is why we need RTC to prevent homelessness , EVERY HUMAN DESERVES TO BE PROTECTED AND HAVE A SAFE SECURED HOME I know how it is living in a car with kids not having a home I'm crying for help please help and I urge you people of power to make a CHANGE!!!

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    Laura Winer at April 07, 2021 at 10:25am PDT

    I am asking the City Council to oppose the Resolution creating a Rental Mediation Program (RMP). Instead, I want the City Council to support the comprehensive Right To Counsel Community Program which is now called Eviction Diversion Program (RTC/EDP). The RMP proposal is short sited and only offers a temporary bandaid for a problem that requires systemic change. Chavez’ Rental Mediation Program will not decrease evictions or decrease homelessness once the eviction moratorium is lifted on June 30, 2021. As a result of being rent burdened and potentially behind in their rent, more than 28,000 Fresno County households may be vulnerable to eviction on June 30, 2021, when the eviction moratorium ends. The requested level of staffing of the Rental Mediation Program will be adequate to address only a small number of those people who may be subjected to eviction.

    The EDP/RTC program offers long term solutions that will help cure the problem of illegal evictions and curb the rates of homelessness in our city. In other cities that have instituted EDP/RTC programs, like New York and Baltimore, studies have shown EDP/RTC programs prevent homelessness. Fewer unhoused residents helps keep community housing stable. Less money is needed to deal with homeless issues. Fewer unhoused residents improves the health and well-being of communities, helps more people maintain their employment, and helps keep children in schools.

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    Karlie Bradbury at April 07, 2021 at 10:08am PDT

    I strongly oppose rental mediation program, I do however support the Fresno Right to Counsel program. Home to me means that I am safe from the outside elements and have a place to come home to and unwind both physically and mentally. In order to feel safe as a renter in Fresno I would like good/ safe living conditions, like proper cleanliness. As well as responsive property managers.
    The Fresno Right to Counsel Coalition is important to me because I witness many of my college classmates and friends who rent struggle to meet their increasing rent prices. They fear that they will be evicted, and that it will affect their ability to continue their education and be a part of the workforce. We need renter protections for our people.

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    Isabelle Romero at April 07, 2021 at 9:47am PDT

    I strongly oppose rental mediation program. I instead support the right to counsel and I strongly ask city council to support RTC instead. Homelessness is affecting so many people in fresno and it isn’t fair that they have to continue to suffer especially during this time of the pandemic. I am strongly urging that city council supports the right to council so that the homeless population and vulnerable tenants in fresno can get the help they deserve and obtain a suitable lifestyle.

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    Nancy Key at April 07, 2021 at 8:45am PDT

    I oppose the Rental Mediation Program because research shows it does not ultimately prevent rental evictions. Instead, I support creation of the Right to Counsel (RTC) proposal which is demonstrated (see Straut research conducted on this program's effectiveness and cost benefit for the cities of New York, Los Angeles, Baltimore, and Philadelphia). The RTC program would provide neighborhood-based community outreach and education, legal advice and representation to tenets facing eviction. The budget also includes evaluation to ensure accountability and provide the basis of consideration for future programs. The RTC proposal also includes a well-constructed budget to support the program effectiveness, and potential funding sources for the program.

    Not only would the RTC program ensure justice to Fresno's tenants who have faced a 37% increase in rents in the past few years (highest of any city in the nation), but by preventing evictions leading to homelessness, the program will realize cost savings by reducing lost school days for children, by reducing jobs lost due to homelessness, reducing insurance lost due to lost jobs, and reduce poor health associated with homelessness.

    The RTC proposal is the right approach for the citizens of Fresno to ensure justice for tenants and reduce homelessness.

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    Kathleen Miles at April 07, 2021 at 8:41am PDT

    Homelessness is a public crime, in my personal view. It is inexcusable. I see its consequences for individuals and the community’s quality of life on a daily basis all around me, and the word “tragic” seems mild to describe the scene. Yet at this late stage of the debate on the issue of homelessness Council Member Chavez is putting forward a proposal that will make it worse.

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    Samantha Imperatrice at April 07, 2021 at 8:39am PDT

    I am a resident of District 1 and I am writing to express my STRONG OPPOSITION to Councilmember Chavez' Rental Mediation Program (RMP). I strongly encourage council to support the community-created, Eviction Diversion Program (formally Right to Council) instead. The RMP lacks key measures that are needed to keep low-income vulnerable tenants housed and slow the growth of homelessness in Fresno. The RMP lacks a guaranteed right to council, which it critical to rebalancing power in our court system. It does not call for or fund aggressive outreach in communities that are most at-risk, and understaffs is own inadequate measures. Only 1% of renters have legal representation in eviction proceedings versus 75% of landlords. In a city where 50% of residents are renters, the majority of whom are rent burdened, a comprehensive approach that provides legal representation and access to rental assistance is an absolute necessity. When the Covid Eviction Moratorium is lifted on June 30th, 2021 we will be facing an unprecedented case load of potential evictions. Other cities around the country have implemented programs similar to EDP with great success in preventing homelessness and stabilizing communities.

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    STEPHANIE LOPEZ at April 07, 2021 at 8:30am PDT

    I am asking the City Council to oppose the Resolution creating a Rental Mediation Program (RMP). Instead, I want the City Council to support the comprehensive Right To Counsel Community Program which is now called Eviction Diversion Program (RTC/EDP).

    Chavez’ Rental Mediation Program will not decrease evictions or decrease homelessness once the eviction moratorium is lifted on June 30, 2021. In other cities that have instituted EDP/RTC programs, like New York and Baltimore, studies have shown EDP/RTC programs prevent homelessness. The benefit of the EDP/RTC program is not confined to just those districts that are highly impacted from the risk of renters being evicted. Everyone in Fresno will benefit financially, socially and economically from a reduction in unhoused residents. Per the Rental Mediation Program resolution, it appears the Rental Mediation Program does not provide any benefit except that, “both parties will leave the meeting more educated about their rights and responsibilities."

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    Amber Crowell at April 07, 2021 at 8:27am PDT

    A mediation program falls far short of what is needed to reduce the thousands of evictions that happen in Fresno every year. The courthouse already has a mediation program and it has minimal impact on the likelihood of a tenant being able to stay in the home. In contrast, studies from other jurisdictions have shown that a right to counsel for tenants dramatically reduces evictions and even eviction filings, meaning landlords are less likely to file for eviction when they know that tenants have legal representation. This will reduce the large amount of illegal evictions and evictions over petty issues that the court currently processes every week. A comprehensive right to counsel, as proposed by the Fresno Right to Counsel Coalition, is more proactive and evidence-driven. It will reduce evictions and homelessness and also prevent families from the costs and trauma of being displaced from their homes. It will also balance the courtroom, where 73% of landlords have attorneys compared to only 1% of tenants. I strongly oppose the mediation proposal and urge City Council to listen to the community and support the RTC Coalition's proposal for eviction diversion and guaranteed legal representation for tenants instead. The city has the funds to implement it.. This is a critical opportunity as we have more federal relief to support housing stability than we have ever had before. We cannot afford to miss this opportunity.

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    Alexandros Acedo at April 07, 2021 at 7:37am PDT

    Council President Luis Chavez's Rental Mediation Program does not dignify or offer justice for Fresno tenants facing eviction, or dealing with bad faith landlords/property managers. This plan only offers two law clerks to serve the whole community of Fresno, which is a majority renter city. The mediation program does not offer legal counsel to renters in a city where only 1% of renters have legal representation, versus around 75 % of landlords/managers. It seems obvious that Chavez's plan is offered as a minimalist approach to dealing with a huge problem, and is destined to fail the thousands of tenants of Fresno.
    As a Fresno resident, I urge you to oppose this very weak plan and support a more robust and holistic approach to dealing with evictions. Faith in the Valley and the Leadership Council have researched for over a year a comprehensive plan that will better serve the needs of Fresno's tenants. I urge you to oppose the Chavez plan, and instead support the plan developed by this community coalition - the Eviction Diversion Plan (formally known as the Right to Counsel plan). The Eviction Diversion Plan actually provides legal counsel to renters, instead of relying on legal clerks & code enforcement. The pandemic has made life hard on so many people, especially the most vulnerable and least financially secure. I urge you to make the choice that dignifies Fresno's residents: No to Chavez Plan, Yes to the EDP

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    Charlotte Miller at April 07, 2021 at 5:31am PDT

    I am asking the City Council to oppose the Resolution creating a Rental Mediation Program (RMP). Instead, I want the City Council to support the comprehensive Right To Counsel Community Program which is now called Eviction Diversion Program (RTC/EDP). This meditation program concept was created without community input, and does not fill the needs of the community as a result. Our community deserves real support that can truly help them as they face one of the most difficult times in our collective experience. EDP/RTC programs are proven to work, whereas this meditation is not. We must consider those members of our community who are the most vulnerable, and provide them with true and proven methods of support.

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    Juan Mejia at April 07, 2021 at 2:28am PDT

    I ask the council to oppose the Rental Mediation Program and instead support the more comprehensive and community-led Eviction Diversion Program. We have an opportunity to create impactful change that will give real help to renters in the form of legal representation. The Rental Mediation Program simply falls short of delivering the help that is needed by the community. Please listen to the people, and listen to the research. Go with the Eviction Diversion Program. Thank you.

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    Amanda C at April 07, 2021 at 1:11am PDT

    I am asking the City Council to oppose the Resolution creating a Rental Mediation Program (RMP). Instead, I want the City Council to support the comprehensive Right To Counsel Community Program which is now called Eviction Diversion Program (RTC/EDP).

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    Amanda C at April 07, 2021 at 1:11am PDT

    I am asking the City Council to oppose the Resolution creating a Rental Mediation Program (RMP). Instead, I want the City Council to support the comprehensive Right To Counsel Community Program which is now called Eviction Diversion Program (RTC/EDP).

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    Brett Felts at April 07, 2021 at 12:08am PDT

    I am asking the City Council to oppose the Resolution creating a Rental Mediation Program (RMP). Instead, I want the City Council to support the comprehensive Right To Counsel Community Program which is now called Eviction Diversion Program (RTC/EDP).
    RMP was created with little community input, and does very little to protect renters from eviction. Code enforcement has been shown to be underfunded and ineffective at best and oppositional to tenants rights at worst, and will do nothing to help protect tenants from slumlords.

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    Monserrath Sanchez at April 06, 2021 at 11:48pm PDT

    My name is Monserrath Sanchez. I was born and raised in Fresno. I am a resident leader with Faith in the Valley and the Right to Counsel Coalition. I am a renter in District 3. I strongly oppose Council President Chavez’s Rental Mediation Program. It’s deeply flawed and falls way too short of actually addressing Fresno’s eviction and homelessness crisis. I urge the Council to vote no. Please listen to the voices and expertise of the community and support the community’s eviction diversion program.