(BCN) — The city of East Palo Alto will recommend on Tuesday that the City Council continue to support anti-displacement efforts to keep people in their homes and apartments, especially after statewide eviction moratoriums have expired.

According to the staff report presented to the council, renters in East Palo Alto continue face the same challenges as during the first two years of the COVID-19 pandemic — the only difference now is that there are no longer the same tenant protections in place, such as barring eviction for nonpayment of rent.

A bit of history: Revenue from Measure O, passed by voters in 2016 as a tax on certain rental properties, has gone toward agencies that assist with anti-displacement services, the city said. In 2019, Nuestra Casa, Youth United for Community Action and Community Legal Services of East Palo Alto submitted a joint proposal for eviction defense and tenant education and outreach.

These are referred to as “Measure O Contract organizations.” Their proposal was accepted in early 2020, directing the city manager to OK a one-year contract with the agencies for $279,088; half of the cost would come from Measure O funding and the rest from the city’s Rent Stabilization Program, the city said.

Then COVID-19 hit, intensifying the need for eviction protection and rent relief. The Measure O Contract organizations stepped up to assist with state-funded help for renters; the City Council received a report and overview of the Measure O Contract accomplishments and activities in January.

Now that the moratoriums have expired, the city has compiled pressing community needs to present to the council. They include legal services for people facing eviction or displacement, tenant outreach in several languages to make sure people know their rights and what resources are available, case management, and direct rental and financial assistance.

City staff are requesting that the council authorize new requests for proposals for new Measure O facilitators to provide these services as contractors. The total amount appropriated toward these ends would be $900,000 over two years, including $300,000 in direct rental and financial assistance for people who need it. The East Palo Alto City Council meets at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday via video conference at https://us06web.zoom.us/j/88620562049.

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