Coronavirus: Bay Area tenant rights group calling for statewide rent strike

With the COVID-19 pandemic hitting Bay Area businesses hard, some tenant rights groups are calling for a statewide rent strike next month if Governor Gavin Newsom doesn't step in to help them.

"So we've had all of our events through June cancel," said Terra Thomas.

Thomas from Oakland is a wedding floral designer but all the spring weddings she was planning are gone, due to the Coronavirus shelter in place order. Now the rent is due.

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"Right now, it's a choice between food and health care versus rent," Thomas said.

Monica Perez is a teacher, living in Pittsburg with two kids to support and a mortgage to pay.

"I have a choice, pay my mortgage this month, or buy the food for my kids," said Perez.

Both Monica and Terra are members of ACCE, Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment, the advocacy group that's calling for a statewide rent strike on May 1st, if Governor Newsom doesn't help by ordering rent and mortgage payments frozen during the crisis.

RELATED: Eviction moratoriums around the Bay Area during coronavirus pandemic: Ordinances city by city

"We want the governor to cancel rent and mortgage payments until we start our lives like we did before,"
Said Perez.

Terra Thomas says a rent strike started early in her neighborhood.

"We have four units in my building striking because it's either rent or food," Thomas added.

Governor Newsom has already called for a moratorium on evictions during the pandemic, but some Bay Area leaders are urging more be done.

San Francisco Supervisor Matt Haney joined a conference call with nine other cities on Wednesday, calling for rents and mortgages to be frozen.

"We've got to make sure people don't go into debt," said Haney.

No word yet from the Governor's office.

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