"The Veritas Tenants Association is deeply disappointed in Veritas' refusal to engage us on the pressing issue of rent relief," Debbie Nunez, a Veritas tenant who represents the Veritas Tenants Association, wrote in a statement. "For three months, we have been asking for a seat at the table on the issues affecting our lives. It's a simple request. But Veritas has ignored our voices and created a program that is inadequate for the times we're in."
Supervisor Aaron Peskin, who mediated negotiations between Veritas and the Veritas Tenants Association, said the landlord should "stop dehumanizing" its tenants and sit down at the negotiating table.
"This to me looks like a first offer. Three of the four points in the offer are already the law," Peskin said, including an eviction moratorium, not raising rents and not passing through costs of construction to tenants. He added that even if the 50% forgiveness is sizable, negotiating terms of rent repayment is vital to tenants.
Without negotiation, Peskin said, "Fundamentally, they dictate everything."
The tenants also called on Veritas to contribute $3.6 million to a small business relief fund.
If that number sounds familiar, it's the same amount Veritas received as a federal Paycheck Protection Program loan earlier this year. Advocates and elected officials — including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi — lambasted Veritas for accepting the loan, saying it seriously stretched the definition of a "small business," the intended recipients of those loans.