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‘Release the Lease’ Petition Breaks 1,000 Signatures

As California students reel from the COVID crisis, advocates urge Gov. Newsom to release college students from their campuses leases and protect their credit.

A petition urging California Gov. Gavin Newsom to issue an emergency order permitting college students in off-campus housing to end their leases without financial penalty or damage to their credit, has broken 1,000 signatures. Organized by Young Invincibles and allied organizations, the “California College Students Need Relief“ petition was sent to Gov. Newsom and other elected leaders earlier today.

While Gov. Newsom’s eviction moratorium is a step in the right direction, the petition outlines the many unique challenges facing California’s college students as they navigate the dual health and economic crises of COVID-19. With job losses disproportionately impacting young people — who are more likely to work service industry, food industry, and hourly wage jobs — and their campuses closing until at least the fall, many off-campus students have suddenly become unable to continue with their current lease through no fault of their own. That’s why state advocates are calling on Gov. Newsom to ease their burden by allowing them to end their lease without penalty.

“While everyone is feeling the impact of the coronavirus to some degree, California’s college students are facing particularly difficult times as they weather the health and economic crises of the coronavirus,” said Kristin McGuire, Western Regional Director of Young Invincibles. “We know that California has the most expensive rent of any state in the country, and students statewide are facing impossible choices to maintain some level of economic stability as they lose their income and their universities close. That’s why we’ve seen this groundswell of support around our ‘Release the Lease’ movement and why we’re collectively calling on Gov. Newsom to continue his leadership on behalf of struggling Californians by allowing them to end their leases without financial penalty or damage to their credit history. We have the ability to protect the next generation of Californians from financial ruin, but we need to act now.”

Between 11 and 16 percent of CSU students live in on-campus housing, meaning the vast majority of CSU students live off-campus. Even at maximum capacity, state college dormitories could house just 44 percent of enrolled students systemwide.