SUNITA SOHRABJI | Ethnic Media Services
California Governor Gavin Newsom (top row, far right) held a press conference Jan. 6 to announce the Golden State Stimulus proposal. Members of the California State Legislature and advocates from several organizations joined the Governor at the virtual briefing. Photo Credit: Sunita Sohrabji

California Governor Gavin Newsom announced the $5 billion ‘Golden State Stimulus’ proposal Jan. 6, with $2.4 billion in direct payments to low-income families and an additional $2.6 billion to help renters facing eviction amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Newsom also announced a possible extension of the state’s eviction moratorium — AB 3088, authored by Assembly member David Chiu, a Democrat representing San Francisco — which is set to expire Jan. 31. At least 1 million families in the state face eviction if the moratorium is allowed to expire.

“People are dealing with the anxiety and distress of being evicted. They are tired of fighting long lines at the local food bank. A sense of urgency is required at the moment,” said Newsom at a press briefing. More than 4 million people who currently use the state’s Earned Income Tax Credit will receive $600 direct payments; the funds will be distributed through the EITC architecture.

Newsom said he is aiming to help both renters and small landlords with the stimulus proposal. The stimulus package will be tacked on to the state’s new budget, which is expected to be released Jan. 8.

Assembly member Eloise Reyes, a Democrat who represents portions of the Inland Empire, said at the press briefing that California’s EITC program has a “proven track record of lifting people out of poverty.”

“We are addressing the inequality in our state, and helping people pay past due rent,” she said.

Jacqueline Martinez Garcel, CEO of the Latino Community Foundation, said: “This money is essential to people on the front lines who are working to feed us.”

Sen. Mike McGuire, a Democrat representing Ukiah, noted that millions of California families are “on the ropes” amid the pandemic. “For some families, no matter how hard they work, it just isn’t enough.”

“But relief is on the way,” he said.

The press conference can be viewed at: