Petition aims to freeze rent and mortgage payments for residents and businesses

Posted at 8:32 AM, Mar 23, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-23 11:32:10-04
Petition aims to freeze rent and mortgage payments for residents and businesses

The number of positively confirmed cases of COVID-19 is not the only thing on the rise.

With mounting expenses and bills, some residents believe more should be done.

"I am proud that the governor did that no eviction order and I think it is the first step, but we need to be a little bit more clear about what exactly the future holds for everybody," said Maryalice Hamilton, owner of Blackwater clothing in San Luis Obispo.

Due to the coronavirus outbreak, some businesses have been forced to close and lay-off their employees.

In response, Hamilton created an online petition to freeze rent and mortgage payments for business and residential properties.

According to county officials, the eviction order will still require renters and mortgage holders be held responsible for making up payments.

"So for instance it doesn't say that your $2,000 housing bill won't be $4,000 next month and so forth until this order is lifted... that we can continue our lives in a normal matter and start bringing in our income," Hamilton said.

It is no secret the Central Coast has some of the highest cost of living expenses in the nation, with rent and mortgage payments taking up a large portion of people's income.

"We are looking at not just paying our rent for our residence but we are looking at paying rent for two businesses. So it is triple for us, and we are trying to find a path to be able to spread out what little money we have now as far as we can and hoping there is the freeze on rent or some sort of supplement coming from government to help keep things afloat," said Gary Ellsworth, a San Luis Obispo County resident and business owner.

Some of those who have signed the petition say this could allow for residents to stay in their homes without the added stress of potentially losing their businesses and residence.

"People need to pay their bills... their rent, their mortgage. Since people aren't working right now, I just think it would be best for people to freeze the rent or the mortgages because with that extra money people can use it for things they might need," said Janay Leon, a resident of Arroyo Grande.

Hamilton said once the goal number of petition signatures is met she plans to get local and state elected officials involved to see what can be done on freezing rent and mortgage payments.

To learn more about the petition click here.