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Alameda County leaders raise alarm over rising eviction cases overwhelming court system

A coalition of elected Alameda County leaders traveled to the Hayward Hall of Justice Wednesday to observe how it handles its eviction cases.

Leah Simon-Weisberg, chairwoman of the Berkeley Rent Board, said they planned the observation after receiving several complaints from community members that the courts were overwhelmed.

“The courts [are] allowing an enormous number of evictions to move forward, completely overwhelming not only the court staff, but legal services to an extent that nobody is receiving due process,” Simon-Weisberg said in a press conference.

Alameda County held some of the longest eviction bans in the country during the pandemic. San Leandro and Oakland’s ban ended in July, while Berkeley’s ban ended in September.

Since then, Alameda County has faced a tsunami of eviction cases.

95 eviction cases were on the court’s calendar Wednesday alone, nearly double what was allowed under the eviction moratoriums. The influx in cases has made it harder for tenants to get the legal help they need.

“I saw in there folks not having the language interpretation they need to be able to go through this process, not having the legal services they need to go through this process,” Valarie Bachelor, District 6 Director for Oakland Unified School District, said during the press conference.

Leaders also said they worry the situation will worsen Alameda County’s homelessness crisis.

Bachelor said her school district alone already has more than 1,500 unhoused families and rushing to evict tenants will only make the situation worse.

Bachelor and other Oakland Unified School District board members plan to introduce a resolution to help people facing homelessness Wednesday night.  The resolution will allow for the transition of vacant district buildings into housing for families.

Source: NBC Bay Area

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