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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    JOHN BEYNON at April 06, 2021 at 9:57pm PDT

    We need real protections for renters who have for so long been at the mercy of landlords that the city has favored. Stand up for renters!

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    Melanie Lee at April 06, 2021 at 9:47pm PDT

    My name is Melanie Lee. I was born and raised in Fresno. I am a youth leader with FIRM and member of the Summerset Village Community in District 7. 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.

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    Emily Brandt at April 06, 2021 at 8:43pm PDT

    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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    Arthur Robinson at April 06, 2021 at 8:14pm PDT

    My name is Arthur Robinson and I am taking a moment to ask the City Council to oppose the Resolution creating a Rental Mediation Program (RMP). Renters deserve a right to counsel if they are involved in an eviction action so instead, I want the City Council to support this: a comprehensive Right To Counsel Community Program which is now known as the Eviction Diversion Program (RTC/EDP). The benefit of the EDP/RTC program is not confined to just those districts that are highly impacted by 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." Fewer unhoused residents help keep community housing stable. Less money is needed to deal with homeless issues. Fewer unhoused residents improve the health and well-being of communities. People maintain access to their health care and mental health care. Fewer unhoused residents help more people maintain their employment. Fewer unhoused residents help keep children in schools. This is the right thing. Do the right thing.

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    Dallas Blanchard at April 06, 2021 at 7:56pm 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 process by which the Rental Mediation Program was developed did not have any community input. There is no documentation of any research having been done to support the RMP being proposed.
    The Eviction Diversion Program EDP (formerly called RTC) provides adequate staffing to address the eviction problem; describes the public outreach process; includes an education program for landlords and tenants; outlines evidence-based economic and social benefits obtained from studies of other cities that have instituted RTC programs.
    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.
    Chavez’ Rental Mediation Program is an inadequate response to what is a serious and growing problem in Fresno. More than 50% of Fresno residents rent. The majority of renting households are rent burdened and pay more than 30% of their household income on rent and utilities.

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    Jacob Bailey at April 06, 2021 at 7:07pm PDT

    I am a resident of district 3, a teacher, and a property owner. The rental mediation program proposal is a problem. A voluntary mediation program will never outbalance the need for tenants to have representation, and since the timeline of eviction is so quick, even if mediation is chosen it will not be completed before default judgements are ruled. If we are really serious about empowering our residents and keeping the from being housing insecure, they must have legal representation in eviction court. As a teacher, I see the effect housing insecurity has on our students. That impact is exaggerated in the age of distance learning when consistency of place (and Internet connection) is vital to student success. Support the families of our districts (at least half of whom rent) by striking down this proposal and making bold action to give renters right to counsel.

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    Devorah Zehring at April 06, 2021 at 5:39pm PDT

    Hello. My name is Devorah Zehring. I am a Fresno resident living in Council district #1. I am writing today to urge the council to oppose
    The Rental Mediation Program. The proposed program will neither decrease homelessness or evictions. A thriving Fresno needs all citizens in stable homes whether they rent or own. Because renters constitute a majority of our citizenship we must ensure their housing is secure.
    Renters deserve a right to counsel if they are involved in an eviction action.
    Thank you for your thoughtful vote in opposition to Rental Mediation Program and your strong support of renters Right to Counsel.

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    Selenne Avalos at April 06, 2021 at 5:05pm PDT

    My name is Selenne Avalos, I am a Fresno State student. I have heard several testimonies of renters that have been struggling with their landlords. It is so unfair that their families have to go through such a horrible experience. I strongly oppose the President Chavez's Rental Mediation Program. We need their voices to be heard and receive all the support they can get.

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    Starry Rinn at April 06, 2021 at 5:04pm PDT

    My name is Starry Rinn. I am a long-life Fresno resident and I live in District 5. I strongly oppose Council President Chavez's Rental Mediation Program It does not treat the root causes of poverty and homelesness like a Right to Counsel would. I know that Councilmembers have met with the community and have agreed with the overall tenets of a RTC. I ask that councilmembers vote no on the mediation program and follow through with passing an RTC.

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    Alexandra Alvarado at April 06, 2021 at 5:04pm PDT

    I strongly OPPOSE Councilmember Chavez’s Rental Mediation Program. My name is Alexandra My name is Alexandra Alvarado. I am a wife, sister, daughter, and community organizer and a renter. In Fresno the disparity of legal representation between tenants and landlords is over 70%. The mediation program that is being proposed is deeply flawed and concerning as to how this is supposed to help families during an eviction. Let’s not forget how many of these families continue to live in dilapidated, slumlord housing, and still pay rent every month under your watch. What was Council President Chavez’s process in creating this mediation program? Did he engage in a meaningful process to ensure community voices were central to his plan? Did he develop a plan that would address longstanding racism and discrimination in our housing and court system? If the city does not prioritize whole person care in implementing an eviction diversion and homelessness prevention proposal, people will be left out, families will be continued to be displaced, children will not have the best opportunity to thrive. Protect our Tenants! Keep our Families Housed!

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    Jacqueline Olguin at April 06, 2021 at 5:04pm PDT

    My name is Jacqueline Olguin. I am a Fresno State student as well as a Fresno renter and I care about renters rights. After hearing Inez Hernandez story about the unfair treatment she got as a renter, it made me realize renters need more protection. 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.

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    Amaya Marquez at April 06, 2021 at 5:02pm PDT

    My name is Amaya Marquez. I strongly oppose President Chavez’s Rental Mediation Program. It’s deeply flawed and falls way too short of actually addressing Fresno’s eviction and homelessness crisis. Families in Fresno need programs that address Fresno’s eviction and homelessness crisis by including them in building the solutions. I urge the council to vote NO. Please listen to the voices and expertise of the community and support the community’s Right to Counsel program.

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    Israel Arias at April 06, 2021 at 5:01pm PDT

    My name is Israel Arias. I am a Fresno State students who is working to advance housing justice in Fresno County. We are studying the longstanding housing crisis in Fresno and we know that in order to change the broken housing system we need policies that will address the roots of the problem. I heard powerful testimony from Inez Hernandez about how renters are not being treated fairly. 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 Right to Counsel program.

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    Karina Sanchez at April 06, 2021 at 5:01pm PDT

    I am a Fresno State students who is working to advance housing justice in Fresno County. We are studying the longstanding housing crisis in Fresno and we know that in order to change the messed up housing system we need policies that will address the roots of the problem. I heard powerful testimony from Inez Hernandez about how renters are not being treated fairly. 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 Right to Counsel program.

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    Alexa Torres at April 06, 2021 at 5:00pm PDT

    My name is Alexa Torres. I am a Fresno State student and I care about renters rights. I recently heard Inez Hernandez's story about how renters are not being treated fairly. Far too many renters live in fear of being evicted, and instead live in inhumane conditions and struggles. I strongly oppose Council President Chavez’s Rental Mediation Program. It’s deeply flawed and inadequately addresses Fresno’s eviction and homelessness crisis. Far too many community members in Fresno County struggle to keep a roof over their families head. 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.

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    Yolanda Mendez at April 06, 2021 at 4:58pm PDT

    My name is Yolanda Mendez. I am a Fresno State student and I care about renters rights. I heard powerful testimony from Inez Hernandez about how renters are not being treated fairly. 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.

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    Zachary Baroni at April 06, 2021 at 4:57pm PDT

    I request Fresno City Council oppose the creation of the RMP (Rental Mediation Program). I've rented in Fresno, and I'm currently a landlord with 3 tenants. The laws are complex, confusing, and without a lawyer, nearly impossible for anybody to navigate. RMP does not provide legal representation to tenants -- EDP (Eviction Diversion Program) does. RMP was developed without community input -- EDP was, not only here but in other cities such as NYC, Baltimore, Philadelphia, etc. RMP is not proven to reduce homelessness or eviction -- EDP has demonstrated success in doing so. I'm a landlord, and I can afford to hire an attorney, make sure all the paperwork is filed right, and evict my tenants quite easily. My tenants don't have that ability -- they would be completely unable to mount a defense if I tried to evict them. Again, I've been on both sides of this coin, and it's absurd that in a fight with my tenants, I could bring a gun (a lawyer skilled at using courts) and my tenants would have nothing. Also, all the unhoused persons (and there will be many more without establishing and fully funding EDP) drive down my property value. Reject RMP, please.

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    Leslie Garcia at April 06, 2021 at 4:55pm PDT

    My name is Leslie Garcia. I am a Fresno State student and I care about renters rights. I heard powerful testimony from Inez Hernandez about how renters are not being treated fairly. 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.

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    Lety Valencia at April 06, 2021 at 4:51pm PDT

    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. We need programs like Right to Counsel to stabilize our housing 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.”

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    Chase Kessinger at April 06, 2021 at 4:40pm 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). 

    More than 50% of Fresno residents rent. The majority of renting households are rent burdened and pay more than 30% of their household income on rent and utilities. 

    The Rental Mediation Program would be inadequate in addressing the needs of renters and would not provide legal representation to renters facing eviction. More than 28,000 Fresno County households may be vulnerable to eviction on June 30, 2021, when the eviction moratorium ends. The proposed level of staffing for the Rental Mediation Program would be inadequate to address even a small number of those who may be subjected to eviction.

    Please listen to the community and draft a policy that addresses the needs of the communities and vulnerable renters. Thank you.