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Fresno’s eviction protection program might survive, but advocates say the city still needs rent control

Councilmembers motion for $2 million for eviction protection program, but it is unknown whether the funding will pass

Fresno housing advocates and community members rallied outside City Hall on Wednesday, urging the City Council to do more to help and protect the city’s thousands of apartment renters.

With more than 70 people in attendance, the “Take Back The Block” rally called on the Fresno City Council to institute rent control — a long-standing issue for community members.

The event included speakers from members of local housing advocacy groups including Power California Action, Fresno Building Healthy Communities and The Children’s Movement.

“Housing in Fresno feels like a series of unfulfilled work orders, extra fees and a race to see how soon my paycheck can go into another man’s hand,” said Anissa Andrade, an advocate with Power California Action.

Earlier in the day, the Fresno City Council finalized motions on the city budget, one of which calls for $2 million toward the city’s Eviction Protection Program. It’s yet to be seen if the program will actually be preserved next year.  

Christopher Petrosian, another advocate with Power California Action, said the city deserves recognition for not abandoning Fresno’s eviction protection program. Petrosian and the rest of the speakers believe more can be done, however, and said council should pass rent control that caps price increases at 3% annually. 

“We must recognize those in positions of power that have stuck with us, such as Councilmember (Tyler) Maxwell and Councilmember (Luis) Chavez, for making budget amendment proposals to ensure this critical housing program was not cut,” Petrosian said.

“Today you stand with your community, but our work doesn’t stop here,” Petrosian added. “We call on you to continue to stand with us, be the strong leaders our city needs, leaders willing to go against the grain and push forward policies that protect residents. Policies like rent control will provide the crucial relief that so many Fresnans need, that so many families need, to keep calling our city their home.”

While the Fresno City Council approved its budget motions Wednesday, city staff have not yet made available to the public a full list of all budget motions, along with a total price tag. That document will likely become available in the coming days.

On June 20, Mayor Jerry Dyer will come back with another budget proposal that will be up for consideration by the City Council, which will likely include at least some of the council’s motions.

If the Fresno City Council does not approve the budget next week, it has another opportunity to do so on June 27. The budget needs to be passed before July, which is when the 2025 fiscal year begins.

For four months, Dyer’s administration has been talking about challenging times for the city, resulting in a $47 million city deficit. About a month ago, he proposed a balanced budget but council members said it was missing key investments in their districts.


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