GROUNDBREAKING BALLOT INITIATIVE SEEKS TO MAKE SAN FRANCISCO THE FIRST CALIFORNIA CITY TO PROVIDE TENANTS A RIGHT TO COUNSEL AGAINST EVICTIONS
November 1, 2017: A coalition of tenant groups, neighborhood leaders, and senior advocates gathered today at San Francisco City Hall to take the first step towards putting an historic initiative on the June 2018 ballot that would give all tenants faced with eviction the right to legal representation. The coalition will need to submit at least 9,485 valid petition signatures from registered San Francisco voters by February 5, 2018 to qualify the “No Eviction Without Representation” initiative for the June 2018 ballot.
If it is approved by voters, the No Eviction Without Representation Initiative will make San Francisco the first city in California to provide a right to counsel for tenants facing eviction. Currently, in eviction legal proceedings in San Francisco, most tenants have no legal representation.
“San Franciscans believe our judicial system should give everyone a fair shake, but when the vast majority of tenants evicted from their home don’t even have a lawyer, the one-sided result is anything but fair,” said Dean Preston, a longtime tenant advocate and the proponent of the initiative. “This initiative will ensure that, if you’re facing eviction, you will have someone by your side.”
A new poll found that San Francisco voters citywide overwhelmingly support the proposed ballot initiative by more than a 2-1 margin. The survey of likely SF voters in the June 2018 election found that 60% of voters would support creating a right to legal representation for San Francisco tenants facing an eviction from their home, while 27% would oppose the measure, with 13% of voters undecided. The telephone poll by the firm Public Policy Polling surveyed 501 likely voters from October 3-4, 2017.
“With no end in sight to San Francisco’s worst eviction crisis, it’s important now more than ever that we make sure tenants who are hit with the ominous threat of eviction don’t just give up,”said Deepa Varma, Executive Director of the San Francisco Tenants Union. “No one should have to give up their home just because they can’t afford a lawyer.”
“This initiative will make sure that tenants who are seniors or people with disabilities, who are extremely vulnerable to being forced out by unfair evictions, have someone to give them a strong defense,” said Lorraine Petty, a senior, activist, and tenant in San Francisco for over 50 years.
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