Renters and activists staged a ‘chalk outline protest’ outside of the Mission Hills home of Sheriff Bill Gore on Tuesday, May 26. At least 160 renter households were due to be evicted when protections for renters during the coronavirus pandemic were put in place.
The protesters claim that evicting people in the midst of the pandemic could potentially lead them to be exposed to and die from COVID-19. The group made chalk outlines of dead bodies on the street and made signs with 160 bloody handprints representing the 160 households. Several officers and cars were present at the scene but did not block off the residential street to drivers.
On May 7, the department announced that it was going ahead with eviction orders put in place before Gov. Gavin Newsom’s emergency shelter-in-place order went into effect. At least 160 San Diego County residents were due to be evicted. The department that same day reversed its decision, saying in a statement: “We have heard from several elected officials. Although they agree serving these evictions are perfectly legal, they expressed concerns about the impact.”
Although Gov. Newsom ordered an eviction moratorium in March, that order runs until June 1, at which time, the Sheriff’s Department argues it could proceed with pending evictions.
Meanwhile, District 3 City Councilman Chris Ward pledged to bring forward a proposal for rent relief for San Diegans at the City Council meeting on Tuesday, June 2.
“Renters are struggling under the financial weight of COVID-19. This is one of the most pressing issues that we must address,” Ward said on Twitter.