Fresno city leaders proposing Eviction Protection Program

Under the proposed Eviction Protection Program, the city would provide outside legal services to families and individuals facing unlawful eviction.

Video Transcript

- People facing eviction may get some assistance thanks to Fresno City leaders. Council members today unveiled a plan they say will help mitigate the city's increasing homeless population in a cost-effective way. Action News anchor Jason Oliveira joins us now with details on what's being called the Eviction Protection Program. Jason?

JASON OLIVEIRA: Warren, there are growing concerns that we will see a huge spike in evictions later this year. So the city of Fresno is trying to get the infrastructure in place to meet that demand. Now, the new program would help anyone experiencing illegal eviction by providing free legal service as a way to cut down on tenants being kicked out unlawfully.

Californians currently facing financial hardship due to the pandemic are protected from eviction as long as they pay part of their rent and have provided proper paperwork. But those protections are set to run out at the end of June. Tuesday, council members Nelson Esparza and Tyler Maxwell introduced a new plan to help renters if the moratorium is not extended by the governor.

TYLER MAXWELL: If and when that moratorium is lifted, we have the infrastructure in place to begin assisting those families immediately.

JASON OLIVEIRA: Under the proposed Eviction Protection Program, the city would provide outside legal services to families and individuals facing unlawful eviction. The plan, officials say, will help safeguard the city's most vulnerable tenants at a time when they are anticipating a wave of evictions.

NELSON ESPARZA: This will come into play and prevent those folks from being evicted that do have legitimate hardship because of the pandemic directly or indirectly.

JASON OLIVEIRA: EPP will be open to Fresno residents, with the City Attorney's Office making the determination whether or not an eviction is legal. How much the program will cost and how the city plans to pay for it is still a bit unclear. But council members hope to use federal stimulus dollars.

TYLER MAXWELL: While we are still waiting on clarity on the best way and the proper way to spend our $170 million in American Rescue Plan funds from the Biden administration, we just want to bring forward the framework at this point.

JASON OLIVEIRA: If the proposal passes this Thursday, the city will begin building the framework to aid those facing potential unlawful evictions. Well, as part of today's announcement, city leaders also introduced plans to strengthen the city's Rental Inspection Program. In the studio, Jason Oliveira, ABC30 Action News.