Tenants Facing Eviction Over Covid-19 Look to a 1970s Solution

An idea from a tenant rebellion in the 70s could help renters facing eviction.

This story was produced in collaboration with the Economic Hardship Reporting Project and is being published in partnership with The New York Times. It is the first in a series about evictions related to the coronavirus.

The Trump administration has extended the ban on evictions through the end of the year, but it does little more than stop the clock on a looming crisis for tenants and landlords. The Emergency Rent and Mortgage Cancellation Act before the Senate now contains a radical proposition, to help tenants buy their apartments. Like many unorthodox ideas, this traces back to San Francisco, when Mayor George Moscone attempted a Hail Mary pass to end nine years of hostile confrontations with police and activists working to keep a group of elderly Filipino residents in their homes. Retro Report draws a compelling and novel connection between this landmark housing fight from the 1970s to the situation facing renters impacted by covid today.

To learn more about Retro Report’s “Hitting Home,” a multicity, multiplatform reporting project that examines the process and impact of evictions caused by the Covid-19 economic fallout click here.

To watch Curtis Choy’s The Fall of the I-Hotel click here.

Related: As Evictions Loom, Cities Revisit a Housing Solution From the 70s by Clyde Haberman What Happens When a Sheriff Challenges an Eviction Order? by Emily Orr

  • Sr. Producer: Bonnie Bertram
  • Editor: Anne Checler
  • Associate Producer: Emily Orr