San Diego City Council members during a meeting for Informational Update on Civic Center Revitalization Project. (District 3.) in downtown on Oct. 17, 2022.
San Diego City Councilmembers during a meeting on Oct. 17, 2022. / Photo by Ariana Drehsler

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The San Diego City Council spent Monday discussing a series of potential policies to protect tenants and declare housing a human right. How those policies will move forward is still TBD.

City Council President Sean Elo-Rivera initially hoped councilmembers would vote Monday to approve a resolution co-sponsored by three colleagues declaring housing a human right. But City Attorney Mara Elliott raised concerns about legal implications.

“If we make promises we cannot keep, we will likely be sued,” Elliott said.

The City Council ultimately voted to direct Elliott to draft a resolution based on language in two versions released by Elo-Rivera’s office. It’s unclear how soon a reworked resolution might materialize.

Elo-Rivera also floated a series of proposed tenant protections to try to kickstart discussions about reforms. He called for urgent action to try to “stem the flow of homelessness” and to protect renters he argued deserve the same stability as homeowners.

“I do not want to be a leader in a community where housing stability is reserved for some, where only some can live in and not all and we have to ship in people for service jobs,” Elo-Rivera.

Fellow councilmembers responded by describing the need to balance the concerns of tenants and landlords and on policies that prioritize cracking down on bad actors. They also expressed the need for more feedback and data analysis. Three City Councilmembers said they’d like the proposals to go through the City Council committee process, a step Elo-Rivera had wanted to avoid.

It wasn’t immediately clear how soon Elo-Rivera’s office might return with specific proposals, or if he will honor his colleagues’ wishes to skip the more time-consuming committee process. He said Monday his goal was to gather feedback and work on quickly putting forward reforms based on Council feedback.

“We’ll get to work,” Elo-Rivera said.

Lisa Halverstadt

Lisa is a senior investigative reporter who digs into some of San Diego's biggest challenges including homelessness, city real estate debacles, the region's...

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