May 19, 2020

Harris Pushes to Allow Furloughed Employees of Yosemite National Park to Stay in Housing During COVID-19 Pandemic

With only two weeks notice to leave, employees fear homelessness 

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Kamala D. Harris (D-CA) on Tuesday sent a letter to Department of the Interior Secretary David Bernhardt and Aramark Corporation CEO John Zillmer urging them to reverse the decision to evict furloughed workers of Yosemite National Park, who reside in shared subsidized housing in the park, over fears of homelessness. The letter comes after reports that Yosemite National Park employees were told they were being evicted with only two weeks notice in the middle of the pandemic.  

“On May 13, 2020, it was reported that 90 furloughed workers of Yosemite National Park, who reside in the park in shared housing subsidized by the National Park Service, were told they would be evicted on May 21, giving them only two weeks notice to leave. I am gravely concerned about the potential of these workers facing homelessness, especially at this time,” said Harris.

She continued, “It is imperative that every Californian has a home to shelter in place during this pandemic. That is why Governor Newsom issued a statewide moratorium on evictions. I strongly support this decision. Although Yosemite National Park is under federal jurisdiction, the Aramark Corporation, Yosemite’s concessionaire who employs and houses hotel, restaurant, campground and shuttle bus workers at Yosemite National Park, should follow California’s leadership by halting any evictions during the COVID-19 pandemic.”

Full text of the letter can be found HERE and below.

The Honorable David L. Bernhardt

Secretary

U.S. Department of the Interior

1849 C Street NW

Washington, DC 20240

 

John J. Zillmer

CEO

Aramark Corporation

1101 Market Street

Philadelphia, PA 19107

 

Dear Secretary Bernhardt and Mr. Zillmer:

On May 13, 2020, it was reported that 90 furloughed workers of Yosemite National Park, who reside in the park in shared housing subsidized by the National Park Service, were told they would be evicted on May 21, giving them only two weeks notice to leave. I am gravely concerned about the potential of these workers facing homelessness, especially at this time.

It is imperative that every Californian has a home to shelter in place during this pandemic. That is why Governor Newsom issued a statewide moratorium on evictions. I strongly support this decision. Although Yosemite National Park is under federal jurisdiction, the Aramark Corporation, Yosemite’s concessionaire who employs and houses hotel, restaurant, campground and shuttle bus workers at Yosemite National Park, should follow California’s leadership by halting any evictions during the COVID-19 pandemic.

I am aware that during non-disaster times, housing for these workers is contingent on their employment by the Aramark Corporation, and many of them have been furloughed due to the park closure. However, these are unprecedented times, and keeping people in their homes is crucial to public health and public safety. In the weeks or months ahead, Yosemite National Park will re-open and need their workforce ready. Until then, I urge you to work together to reverse this decision and keep Yosemite’s hard working staff in their homes. The Aramark Corporation must give their workers a written public assurance that they will not follow through with any evictions while there is a statewide moratorium set by Governor Newsom.

We must commit to keeping all people in America safe and healthy during this crisis. I ask for a response before May 21, 2020, the date these evictions are set to occur.

Sincerely,

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