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Williams Institute panel dissects ‘ministerial’ and other problems with landmark Bostock jobs ruling

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LGBTQ people are not a social or cultural issue. LGBTQ people are human beings linked by love and sexual attraction who confront issues of race, gender, age, legal and economic discrimination largely in intersectional silence due to explicit and internalized systemic homophobia and transphobia. The Williams Institute, an LGBTQ legal and policy think tank, counters that silence through scholarship, collecting and analyzing data that presents the persistent need for LGBTQ rights.

The data illuminates the LGBTQ community: As of April 2020, there are an estimated 13,042,000 million LGBT people age 13 and older in America. As of May, 1.7 million live in California, 15% of all LGBT adults in the U.S., Legal Director Christy Mallory told the Los Angeles Blade.

Williams Institute founding director Brad Sears noted during a July 31 webinar “Are We There Yet? LGBTQ Rights and the Bostock Decision,” that each number is an individual LGBTQ person struggling amid the cacophony of the COVID crisis and the uncertain economic future. That struggle could possibly be compounded by failure to enforce the June 15 landmark Supreme Court ruling in Bostock v. Clayton County  affirming that Title VII protects employees nationwide from discrimination based on their sexual orientation and gender identity.

“We know that there are over 8 million LGBTQ people in our workforce and that half of them live in States that don’t have state laws protecting them from discrimination,” Sears said. And with the Equality Act stuck in Congress, there is no federal statute that explicitly provides that protection, either.

“We know that that has consequences,” Sears said, noting numerous Williams Institute studies reporting much higher rates of LGBTQ unemployment, poverty, food insecurity and housing instability. “In this time of economic downturn, we can see really what that looks like,” along with the greater LGBTQ vulnerability to COVID-19.

And while “it’s good to quantify the impact of that discrimination,” Sears said, “we also need to recognize that every one of those numbers represents thousands and thousands of individual people.”

As background to the webinar, the Williams Institute released a pre-COVID paper looking at state nondiscrimination laws.  A key finding: “3.6 million more LGBT people will gain non-discrimination protections if state-level sex non-discrimination laws in their states are interpreted consistent with Bostock,” said Mallory. HRC published an analysis, as well: “What the Supreme Court Ruling in Bostock Means For State Legislative Efforts.”

Along with Sears, who is also Associate Dean of Public Interest Law at UCLA Law, the webinar featured Alphonso David, President of the Human Rights CampaignAndy Marra, executive director of the Transgender Legal Defense & Education Fund (TLDEF), and Melissa Zahra, whose brother was a one of the plaintiffs in the Bostock case.

Professor Cary Franklin of the University of Texas laid out the case. She explained how Justice Gorsuch, who wrote the positive 6-3 decision, interpreted Title VII using textualism which looks at the text of a law, not what the original legislators intended. Therefore, the courts have held that “any time you discriminate against people because they are gay, lesbian or transgender, you are in part discriminating against them on the basis of their sex.” (Bisexual and non-binary people were not discussed.)

Dissenter Justice Alito was “apoplectic” about that interpretation, saying legislators in 1960 did not intend these sorts of protections. But, Franklin noted, the legislators didn’t then consider discrimination on the basis of motherhood or sexual harassment as forms of behavior that were discrimination on the basis of sex. “Now the court agrees that those things are sex discrimination.”

Unfortunately, Franklin said, the Court didn’t end there, mentioning three possible exceptions to avoid infringements on the rights of religious people: the exemption in Title VII itself for religious organizations to prefer “co-religionists” and discriminate against those who don’t conduct themselves according to the tenants of the religion; the “ministerial exception;” and expanded interpretation of the 1993 Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RIFRA).

“The ministerial exception is not part of Title VII. It is a court created doctrine,” Franklin said. “The court has interpreted the First Amendment to say that when religious organizations are hiring ministers, they don’t have to follow any anti-discrimination law. The Title VII exemption allows you to discriminate on the basis of religion. The ministerial exception allows you to discriminate at all the bases — race, national origin, sex, disability, and age, any anti-discrimination protections.”

Franklin put it into a larger context:

“It’s part of an enormous movement on the part of the religious right to blunt the effect of anti-discrimination law — courts have expanded the concept of ‘minister.’ Expanded it quite far. When I say ‘minister,’ you’re thinking of minister, priest, rabbi, Imam.  That’s not what it means in the law anymore. It increasingly means workers for religiously-affiliated organizations.

 

As you may know, a decision came down this summer involving two fifth grade teachers at a Catholic school. Those teachers filed age and disability discrimination suits. And the court said their employer was not required to follow anti-discrimination law because those teachers were ministers.

 

Now this is an expansion of the law because those teachers didn’t have any particular religious training. They weren’t referred to by the title of ‘minister.’ They spent almost all of their day teaching math and English and science — but the Court held them to be ministers. So Justice Sonia Sotomayor in dissent says this is extremely worrisome. Coaches, camp counselors, social service workers, in house lawyers, media relations personnel, many folks who work for religious organizations could now be counted as ministers.

 

And I will tell you my concern and the kind of maximalist reading of the ministerial exception would extend to healthcare. You could imagine, and this is certainly the movement arguing that religiously affiliated hospitals, the folks who work for them, nurses, maybe even doctors are ministering to the sick.

 

This is a campaign to define an enormous swath of the American workforce as ministers and strip them of any anti-discrimination protection, certainly to protections annunciated in Bostock. But any protection of Title VII.”

The third exemption the Court mentions is RIFRA, originally enacted by the left “as a shield to protect the religious freedom of minority groups who were being injured by laws of general applicability.” But now it is being used as a sword to grant religious individuals license to discriminate against others by exempting them from the entire anti-discrimination regime, says Franklin.

“If the court continues to interpret RIFRA to excuse religious organizations from the mandates of anti-discrimination law, this will truly be the monster that eats anti-discrimination law,” says Franklin. “We will not have much of it left.”

Punctuating Sear’s point that real people are hurt by discrimination, Melissa Zahra told the story of her late brother, Donald Zarda who sued Altitude Express, alleging his employment was terminated because of his sexual orientation.

Gerald Bostock (Photo courtesy CNBC)

Zarda’s lawsuit had been consolidated with a lawsuit brought by Gerald Bostock who alleged he was fired from his child welfare job for being gay by officials in Clayton County, Georgia, and a lawsuit brought by Aimee Stephens, an employee at R.G. & G.R. Harris Funeral Homes, Inc., who alleged she was fired for being transgender.

Aimee Stephens (Photo courtesy ACLU)

Melissa Zahra wanted to put a face behind the story to her brother’s lawsuit.

“Every single thing that mattered to my brother for the majority of his life was being in the air. This was something that he discovered when he was in the military and from the moment of his very first jump, it was his mission to be in the air.

 

He got every single certification that a skydiving instructor could get. He accumulated easily over 10,000 jumps. He got his pilot’s license. He completed his degree in aviation management, He even liked zip-lining — just any way to be in the air.

 

Once he had discovered skydiving, he had my family’s full support because we loved seeing how happy he was. It became his entire world and all of the time what he would be traveling around to all these different drop zones and airports and different countries and teaching and being an instructor. And whenever he came home, he would have a new batch of videos for us to all watch. And of course we found it frightening, but also cool. And, you know, he was just so happy. It was his passion and he loved sharing it with people. So when he decided to dedicate his career to it — he was actually in school for engineering and he decided this is what he wanted to do  and it’s what made him happy.

 

It was about this time in 2010 where he’d already been a skydive instructor for a long time and he had a lot of experience. He was working at a drop zone in New York and he was doing tandem jumps where you’re strapped to the other person with close physical contact.

 

There’s a lot of joking by the instructors and people on the job because people are understandably nervous, especially first-timers. They try to break the ice and lightened things up a little bit. And in an effort to make a student more comfortable with their close physical contact, my brother mentioned he was gay — kind of like, ‘don’t worry about me. I’m gay.’

 

After that jump, he was fired from his job that he loved so, so much.  He was just absolutely devastated by this.

 

It’s important to note that this wasn’t just a skydiving instructor job, like a summer job for him. It was his entire passion. He was afraid that it would be harder to get employment at other skydiving places because it’s a small community and people share and he didn’t want to be seen as difficult or whatever — but at the same time, he knew that he needed to stand up and that it wasn’t fair and that it wasn’t right. So he ended up bringing this suit against his former employer and it just went on for what felt like forever. He would be calling my sister and my mom and me for counsel and support. He was just heartbroken.

 

And he started at this point taking a little bit more risks because he felt like, ‘I’m not going to be able to work. My life’s changed because of this.’ And he started taking riskier jobs. He started getting involved with base jumping, wing suit flying, and the combination of all of that. And it was that that ultimately led to his passing in 2014 in an accident.

        Don Zarda, Melissa Zahra, and Bill Moore (Photo courtesy ACLU)

At that point myself and his partner Bill Moore were left as executors of his estate and we decided we definitely needed to pursue this in Don’s memory because it was so important to him and he wanted nothing more than to clear his name.

 

So that’s what we did. And we had a wonderful team of people who helped us along the way. And I can’t even imagine having been able to do this without them. Every single person was so amazing. And the ruling came out and we were beside ourselves — and that’s where we are today.”

TLDEF‘s Andy Marra talked about the importance of trans employee Aimee Stephens bringing her case – the first-ever trans rights case to be heard by SCOTUS. She was represented by the ACLU, with trans attorneys, Gabriel Arkles, and Chase Strangio who appeared before a conservative-leaning Court and transgender leaders across the country signed numerous amicus briefs “to make sure that our voices were well-represented.”  Unfortunately, like Don Zarda, Stephens did not live to see her Supreme Court victory.

“LGBTQ+ people won because of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964,” Marra said, “and LGBTQ+ people across the country owe a debt of gratitude to Black and Brown people who came before us and fought so hard for civil rights protections.”

Marra focused on Justice Samuel Alito’s sharp dissent and some of the challenges that trans people face, doing so as an “optimistic person” who believes “our movement will win” — and through a movement and activist lens.

Marra’s first concern was how Alito compared the litigants to pirates. What was most disturbing about Alito’s dissent is that it “relied on harmful and already debunked myths about our community,” Marra said. “LGBTQ people were essentially compared to being rapists and sexual predators. And we were also being cast as folks that had suffered from severe mental illness.”

Marra also noted the “hopeful aspect” for the movement of Alito’s dissent: “essentially Justice Alito laid out a roadmap for advancing legal equality for transgender people and some of that work is already underway,” such as in healthcare access and protections, sex- segregated facilities in sports, and transgender people being recognized with proper pronouns.

There are a number of active litigation being brought that relies on Title VII, including healthcare. One of TLDEF’s lawsuits was cited by Alito “and we’re absolutely proud to be a part of the parade of horribles, as I’m sure we could be described as,” Marra said.

“Because of this ruling, we have a strong case to argue future litigation,” Marra said. This is a window of opportunity for us, in terms of pronouns and the First Amendment. There was a separate section in the Alito dissent that covered freedom of speech and raising the concerns around, essentially, people being forced to use gender pronouns against their will.”

Though military issues are not part of TLDEF‘s litigation portfolio, Marra did note that there are more than 14,000 trans service members, though courts have held that Title VII does not pertain to them.

“It’s worrying,” Marra said, “that the military is the nation’s largest employer for trans folks and I think that will be very interesting to see how that particular issue moves forward.”

Finally, Marra pointed out the importance on educating attorneys and law students,  especially those engaged in public interest law or pro bono work, about how Bostock pertains to trans people, especially people of color.

“There is a belief that this recent ruling and Title VII really doesn’t impact their day to day lives,” Marra said. “I think it reflects the fundamental struggles for transgender people to even attain an appointment or even have access to economic opportunity, let alone be fired from a job.”

Sears introduced HRC’s Alphonso David with accolades. “I’m just blown away by what you’ve been able to accomplish there already,” he said.

David noted that the Williams Institute has been “so instrumental to the movement over the past several decades. I know I’ve been doing this work for more than 20 years, and I’ve been relying on the research from the Williams Institute.”

The Bostock decision, David said, “yes, it is a significant decision. But it has significant limitations, as well.”

The ruling reminded him of the 1998 Oncale v. Sundowner Offshore Services, Inc.lawsuit brought by a male oil rig worker who alleged repeated subjected to sexual harassment by male coworkers. Justice Anton Scalia wrote the majority opinion saying workplace discrimination includes sexual harassment by male coworkers.

“It was a great ruling, but we were also concerned about the application” said David. “And we were concerned about the holding in Oncale being limited or limiting same sex harassment to three situations that were enumerated in the holding. We also were concerned about the difficulties of proving an aggressor’s sexual desire or orientation because of the inference that is not really presumed and how our plaintiff’s going to have to prove that someone was actually harassing them when the person sexual orientation may not be presumed in those cases.”

David noted that there have been many decisions over the years that are inconsistent about the application Oncale. He felt the same about Bostock.

“Here we have a significant ruling that says that LGBTQ people should be treated the same as everyone else under Title VII, because of sex includes sexual orientation and gender identity, which is great.

But we know about the limitations: the Court said it doesn’t relate to religious objections — they’re not talking about that issue. They’re certainly not talking about sex-segregated spaces so we’re talking about bathrooms. We’re also talking about sports. Those issues, the Court did not address it all in Bostok, and I’m not suggesting that we would lose those cases if they were to be advanced to the Supreme court — but it does open up the possibility that we will be confronted with those cases in the near future, where opponents of equality will use Bostock against us. So I’m concerned about that.”

David also raised the point of the implications of Bostock on people of color since often discussion about the LGBTQ community historically do not include people of color.

“That has to change,” David said, as well as considering how Bostock does not apply to public accommodations.

“We have places of public accommodations that are not included in the 1964 Civil Rights Act,” he said. “So restaurants and hotels are certainly included. But there are other places — retail stores, salons, transportation hubs — are not included and that is of significant concern for me.”

David noted that “people of color continue to face persistent discrimination on a daily basis in stores and salons in accessing transportation services, like car services and taxis.”

He cited the example of clerks in a Georgetown neighborhood in Washington, DC, using a mobile app that allowed them to profile suspected shoplifters.

“When they reviewed the data, 90% of the photographs that they took were of Black people, often accompanied by racist language,” David said. Additionally, in Wisconsin, “a Black professional basketball player was denied access to a jewelry store based on his race. This is happening all over the country” where states or locales do not have non-discrimination laws.

“There are no federal laws that protect correct us when I get into an Uber or Lyft as a Black man or as a gay man.  There are no federal laws that protect me in the instance of a retail establishment if I want to go in and purchase a suit or a tee shirt. I can face discrimination unless I have recourse under state law,” David said. “So Bostock is incredibly important for us, is a huge landmark achievement. But we cannot lose sight of how much work we have to do.”

Here are additional resources:

Cary Franklin’s 2012 Harvard Law Review article, which the Supreme Court cited in Bostock:

 

Human Rights Campaign’s recent legal actions:

 

TLDEF’s recent initiatives:

  • Boston v. HHS filed on July 9th by TLDEF and other civil rights groups to challenge new rules released as it pertains to Section 1557 of the ACA https://tldef.org/stay-informed/breaking-were-suing-administration/

  • TLDEF’s Trans Health Project takes a comprehensive, systematic approach to expanding access to transgender-related health care by educating affected individuals about their legal rights; cultivating a robust movement to achieve health care equity; expanding enforcement of existing legal protections; and driving clinical policy changes among insurance carriers.

Here’s the full panel discussion, as well as questions and answers at the end:

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National

Threats of violence and death shuts down Nebraska drag queen story hour

After discussions and consultations with Lincoln Police, the museum and the LGBTQ+ group citing safety concerns cancelled the event.

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Screenshot of the Lincoln Children’s Museum, Lincoln, Nebraska. ABC News affiliate coverage

LINCOLN – A private LGBTQ+ event scheduled for after hours this past Saturday at the Lincoln Children’s Museum in Nebraska’s capital city was cancelled after the museum and the event’s organizers received a torrent of abusive violent threats, including ones that were simply death threats.

Longtime local drag performer Waylon Werner-Bassen, who is the president of the board of directors of LGBTQ advocacy group OUTNebraska had organized the event alongside Drag Queen Story Hour Nebraska.

Bassen told the Lincoln Star-Journal in an interview last week on Tuesday that the scheduled RSVP only two-hour event, which was accessible through Eventbrite, had garnered a conformed attendee list of approximately 50 people.

Mandy Haase-Thomas, director of operations and engagement for the Lincoln Children’s Museum in an email the Star-Journal confirmed the event was invitation-only private, not sponsored by the museum and to be held after museum’s open-to-the-public hours.

According to Bassen, immediately after the event was announced the threats commenced, some of which included death threats. After discussions and consultations with officials from the Lincoln Police Department, the Lincoln Children’s Museum and Bassen’s group citing safety concerns cancelled the event.

Officer Luke Bonkiewicz, a spokesperson for the LPD said that the matter was under investigation and as such would not comment other than to acknowledge that the threats were found to be credible.

In an Instagram post the museum expressed its dismay over the event’s cancellation.

Community reaction was swift and uniformly in support of OutNebraska and the drag queen story hour event with the city’s Mayor weighing in along with a supervisor with the Lincoln Police Department.

The ACLU of Nebraska along with other supporters which included state lawmakers Senator Adam Morfeld and Senator Tony Vargas also weighed in.

OutNebraska and the museum have both stated that they will reschedule the event. In a Facebook post Out Nebraska noted: “We look forward to working with Lincoln Children’s Museum to reschedule this as an entirely private event. It’s so sad when hate threatens families with children. All parents want their children to be safe. Because we could not be certain that it would be safe we will cancel this weekend and reschedule for another time — this time without a public portion of the invitation. We will be in touch with the families who have already registered with more information about when we are rescheduling.”

In related news the LPD not only recently celebrated LGBTQ Pride Month, but the designated person nominated at the end of June by the Mayor to be the department’s new Chief, is SFPD Commander Teresa Ewins, the San Francisco California Police Department’s highest-ranking LGBTQ member.

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FBI joins investigation into murder of LGBTQ Atlantan

Atlanta Police continue to search for the suspect in the deadly stabbing of a woman asking that anyone with information to please come forward

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Katie Janness and her dog Bowie via Facebook

ATLANTA – The Atlanta Police Department’s murder investigation into this past Wednesday’s stabbing death of 40-year-old Katie Janness and her dog in Piedmont Park, located about 1 mile northeast of downtown between the Midtown and Virginia Highland neighborhoods, has been joined by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, (FBI).

WXIA 11 Alive news reported that the FBI is assisting the Atlanta Police Department, (APD) however a spokesperson for the APD told WXIA the department wouldn’t provide any specifics about the FBI’s involvement with the investigation, nor did the Atlanta Field Office of the FBI comment. 

The Georgia Voice, the local LGBTQ newspaper, reported that Janness, a member of Atlanta’s LGBTQ community and a bartender at the LGBTQ-owned Campagnolo, was found stabbed to death in the park on Wednesday (July 28) after walking her dog Bowie, who was also killed.

Janness was found by her partner of six years, Emma Clark, after Clark tracked her with her phone’s GPS.

“Today, I lost the love of my life and baby boy,” Clark said in a post shared to a GoFundMe page. “It was tragic. She was the most intelligent, kind, humble, and beautiful person I have ever known. I wanted to spend every second with her. [Bowie] was the sweetest, most loyal companion. My heart is so very broken, my world will never be the same.”

A vigil was held for Janness on Thursday evening at Piedmont Park.

Atlanta Police continue to search for the suspect in a deadly stabbing of a woman in Piedmont Park

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported that Janness’ murder is believed to be the first homicide inside the park in 12 years and according to family members of Janness’ longtime girlfriend, a security camera at an intersection near the park’s entrance captured the last known picture of Katherine Janness and her dog before the two were killed.

But other cameras in the area weren’t working, including one facing the entrance. As of Friday the AJC also reported, as of Friday afternoon, Atlanta police had released few details about the murder investigation that has left city residents and parkgoers on edge.

Atlanta Police are asking that anyone with information to please come forward, and tipsters can remain anonymous by contacting Crime Stoppers Atlanta at 404-577-8477, texting information to 274637 or visiting the Crime Stoppers website.

APD detectives are also asking those who live in this area to review footage from their security cameras and contact the police if they find anything that may be pertinent to this investigation. The timeframe for review should be between 10:30 p.m. on Tuesday to 1:30 a.m. on Wednesday.

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The CDC’s eviction moratorium ending at midnight Saturday stoking fears

CDC’s eviction ban expires at midnight tonight, millions of primarily lower income Americans are facing losing their homes

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Graphic via NBC News YouTube Channel

LOS ANGELES – As the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, (CDC) eviction ban expires at midnight tonight, millions of primarily lower income Americans are facing losing their homes. Hopes of a federal extension approved by Congress failed this week and now lawmakers are on a six-week recess.

On Thursday, President Joe Biden announced that he would let the current CDC eviction moratorium expire instead of challenging the June U.S. Supreme Court ruling that extended the deadline to tonight. The high court ruled to extend moratoriums to the end of July but made it clear it would block any further extensions unless there was specific congressional authorization.

A White House official said that President Biden would have liked to extend the federal eviction moratorium because of the spread of the delta variant of the coronavirus which is highly contagious. However, the official conceded there were also concerns that challenging the high court may lead to a ruling that potentially could restrict the Biden administration’s ability to take unilateral actions in future public health crises.

On Friday, Missouri Democratic Representative Cori Bush angrily denounced House colleagues for adjourning for the August recess without passing an extension of the CDC eviction moratorium.

“The House is at recess. People are on vacations. How are we on vacation when we have millions of people who could start to be evicted tonight?” Bush told CNN’s Jessica Dean. “There are people already receiving and have received pay or vacate notices that will have them out on tomorrow. People are already in a position where they need help, our most vulnerable, our most marginalized, those who are in need,” she said, adding, “How can we go vacation? No, we need to come back here.”

The CDC’s eviction ban was intended to prevent further spread of the coronavirus by people put out on the streets and into shelters. Congress had approved nearly $47 billion in federal housing aid to the states during the pandemic, but that funding has been slow to make it into the hands of renters and landlords owed payments. According to persons knowledgeable of the assistance system structure, one of the reasons for the delays are over complicated administrative requirements for renters seeking help.

The President had pleaded with local governments to “take all possible steps” to immediately disburse the funds. “There can be no excuse for any state or locality not accelerating funds to landlords and tenants that have been hurt during this pandemic,” he said in a statement released late Friday.

While the Senate was in a rare Saturday work session on the president’s infrastructure package during a floor speech Democratic Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren stated, “We are only hours away from a fully preventable housing crisis. We have the tools, and we have the funding. What we need is the time.”

The President’s apparent action angered many lawmakers in his own party on Capitol Hill some who expressed anger furious that he expected Congress to provide a last-minute solution to protect renters that they were unable to deliver.

Representative Maxine Waters, (D-Calif.), Chair of the House Financial Services Committee, said Saturday on CNN: “We thought that the White House was in charge.” Waters quickly produced a draft of a bill that would require the CDC to continue the ban through Dec. 31. At a hastily arranged hearing Friday morning to consider the bill she urged her colleagues to act, Stars and Stripes reported.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi implored colleagues to pass Waters’ bill extending the deadline, calling it a “moral imperative,” to protect renters and also the landlords who are owed compensation. Landlords are opposed to extending the CDC’s eviction moratorium and are also urging local and state governments to speed up disbursement of the funding designed to hep renters from losing their homes and landlords to meet their obligations.

When House Democrats failed to garner support for Waters’ legislative efforts, they then tried to simply approve an extension by consent, without a formal vote, but House Republicans objected.

According to the Department of Housing and Urban Development, as of March of this year, 6.4 million American households were behind on their rent and as of July 5, the Census Bureau’s Household Pulse Survey showed that in the next two months approximately 3.6 million Americans will face immediate eviction proceedings.

The Associated Press reported Saturday that some places are likely to see spikes in evictions starting Monday, while other jurisdictions will see an increase in court filings that will lead to evictions over several months.

The Biden administration is trying to keep renters in place through other means. It released more than $1.5 billion in rental assistance in June, which helped nearly 300,000 households.

The departments of Housing and Urban Development, Agriculture and Veterans Affairs extended their foreclosure-related eviction moratoriums through the end of September on households living in federally insured, single-family homes late Friday, after the president had asked them to do so.

In Los Angeles, the threat of a spate of evictions will greatly exacerbate the greater LA region’s homelessness crisis. This past week in a 13-2 vote Wednesday, the Los Angeles City Council voted to stop people from camping in public spaces including the areas around parks, schools, homeless shelters, bridges and overpasses, and other similar structures.

A spokesperson for Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti said that he will sign the ordinance.  Once signed, the measure will go into effect 30 days later.  Opponents of this ordinance are decrying it as another effort to criminalise the homeless population.

Homeless and civil rights activist Eddie Cruz told KTLA, “this ordinance is targeting a specific group of people in the unhoused community. We believe that this is an irresponsible attack from the City Council and an irresponsible way to deal with the homelessness crisis that is occurring in Los Angeles,” Cruz said.

In a new poll released last week conducted by Inside California Politics and Emerson College of more than 1,000 registered voters, half rated Governor Gavin Newsom’s response to the homelessness crisis in California as ‘poor.’

Newsom’s low marks comes after he signed the largest funding and reform package for housing and homelessness in California history as part of the $100 billion California Comeback Plan. The package includes $10.3 billion for affordable housing and $12 billion over two years towards tackling the homelessness crisis including $5.8 billion to add 42,000 new housing units through the states’ Project Homekey .

Another $3 billion of this investment is dedicated to housing for people with the most acute behavioral and physical health needs.

However, say activists, there is no sense of urgency in assisting people navigate through what most people see as an overly complicated application process matched with tens of thousands who will be immediately impacted and without a time cushion to work through the assistance process once the moratorium is lifted.

Eviction Moratorium Ending

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