"There's a huge risk of a surge in homelessness, which could be over a 200% increase," Trujillo said.
Those at greatest risk of eviction in the county, where average rent is nearly $3,000, are disproportionately people of color, households headed by women and families of young children, according to the group's analysis of unemployment insurance claims and census data.
More than 212,000 Santa Clara County workers — or one in every five workers in the county — filed unemployment claims between March 15 and May 30, the report found. The majority of those claims covered fields that include a large number of low-wage jobs, where Black and Latinx workers are disproportionately represented. Not included in that number, the report notes, are the estimated 95,000 undocumented workers in the county who are ineligible for unemployment benefits.
"We're just really concerned about the disparate impact this would have on Black and Latinx households and folks who may be undocumented as well," Trujillo said.
The report's dire warning comes just over a month before the county's eviction moratorium is set to expire. Enacted soon after shelter-in-place restrictions went into effect in late March, the countywide order bars landlords from evicting tenants for non-payment of rent due to significant pandemic-related income loss.
Tenants have up to six months after the moratorium expires on Aug. 31 — which officials already extended from May 31 — to repay at least 50% of past-due rent, and up to a year to repay the full amount. That repayment, however, is on top of whatever rent those tenants will continue to owe on a monthly basis, a particularly daunting challenge amid ongoing economic fallout as the coronavirus cases continue to surge.
The emergency protections are similar to those enacted in most other Bay Area counties — and much of the rest of the state — where low-income people of color have been hit hardest by the pandemic, both physically and financially.
"It's really going to devastate Black and Latinx renters who, of course, are most likely to be working in industries that have been affected by COVID and also most likely to be highly rent burdened in the first place," Trujillo said.