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Tenants Are Taking Charge in California

by Fannie Brown Saturday, Sep. 14, 2002 at 8:08 AM
acornnews@acorn.org 202-547-2500 739 8th St SE Washington DC 20003

A new movement is building across the state of California in response to one of the most severe housing crises in the Country.

Tenants Are Taking C...
web_209.jpg, image/jpeg, 350x263

A new movement is building across the state of California in response to one of the most severe housing crises in the Country. From low income working families to middle class professionals, people are feeling the squeeze from the lack of affordable housing and are joining together to demand local and state action.

Only 58 percent of Californian households now own their homes. That's a smaller percentage than in any other state except Hawaii, New York, and Washington DC. The other 42 percent of California households are renters. Among Latino-headed households, 58 percent are renters. Among African-American-headed households, 60 percent are renters.

In recent weeks, this growing popular pressure for renters protections and affordable housing has led to the passage of three bills in the state legislature. One has been signed by the Governor, and one has placed a measure on the ballot for voters to decide in November, but one is still sitting on the Governor’s desk awaiting his signature.

In August, Governor Gray Davis signed into law Senate Bill 1403, will require that a landlord give 60 days' notice rather than 30 days', when evicting a tenant without cause. Many renters are evicted for no fault of their own. With this law in place, fewer of them will end up on the street or forced to move to the first place they find.

Senate Bill 1227 has been passed, placing on the ballot for the public to vote on in November a $2.1 billion affordable housing bond. The bill was sponsored by Senator Burton. The bond would be the biggest investment in affordable housing in California history. The coalition of groups that has spent months working to pass these bills is now working to turn out voters to pass this bond.

It is Assembly Bill 2330, authored by Assemblymember Carole Migden and passed by the State Legislature, which still awaits the Governor’s signature. If signed, AB 2330 will ensure the return of the security deposit for law-abiding renters, and penalize landlords fail to follow the law by returning the proper amount of the security deposit. Many renters who are evicted for no cause need their old security deposit in order to pay their new security deposit. When landlords refuse to return a security deposit or to do so in a timely manner, the results for families can be serious

ACORN member Gerardo Madrigal describes, “As a low wage worker in an assembly plant, I know that if me, my wife and our children had to move, there is no way I could get into a new apartment unless I get my security deposit from my current place returned to me. It’s our money. As long as we leave the apartment in good condition, we have a right to get our money back!”

Mr. Madrigal, and other members of the coalition known as Renters Together for Stronger Communities say that AB 2330 is simply strengthens existing law to prevent the bad landlords from taking advantage of hard working families who are trying to keep a roof over their heads. The coalition, spearheaded by the community group ACORN and the labor union Service Employees International Union (SEIU), includes dozens of local and statewide community groups, churches, and labor unions dedicated to assuring that every working family enjoys decent and affordable housing in a neighborhood close to their work.

For generations, they argue, most working families were able to achieve the American Dream. Good jobs and hard work were enough to assure a decent home in a nice neighborhood close to work.

No longer. Despite nearly a decade of prosperity, today there are fewer good jobs than a generation ago. And the working poor, despite their hard work, are still aspiring to better their lives. Housing developers have built relatively few new homes, and even fewer for low- and moderate-income homebuyers. Many landlords have raised rents without making any significant improvements to their properties. To pay these high rents, family members have taken second jobs and even third jobs. Others have taken in extended family, friends, and even strangers. To find cheaper rents, many families have moved far from work, meaning thy spend more time on the road and less at home, contributing to traffic problems and sprawl as well.

The group is calling on Governor Davis to help level the playing field between landlords and tenants by signing into law AB 2330. Those Californians who rent --- nearly half of all households --- expect his support. Renters Together maintains a website at www.acorn.org/carenters and can be reached toll free at 1-800-324-3697.
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No shit! FA Saturday, Sep. 14, 2002 at 11:25 AM
Nazi scum 000 Sunday, Sep. 15, 2002 at 10:00 AM
Very nice... FA Sunday, Sep. 15, 2002 at 8:00 PM
You must be joking Jezebelle Wednesday, Sep. 18, 2002 at 2:45 PM
Info... FA Wednesday, Sep. 18, 2002 at 4:06 PM
you reap what you sow jezebelle Thursday, Sep. 19, 2002 at 7:25 AM
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Actually... FA Thursday, Sep. 19, 2002 at 10:29 AM
He is SOO right!! jezebelle Friday, Sep. 20, 2002 at 6:40 AM
So very droll... FA Friday, Sep. 20, 2002 at 10:21 AM
Sorry! FA Friday, Sep. 20, 2002 at 10:25 AM
FA who the hell do you think you are? WD Wednesday, Dec. 04, 2002 at 9:30 AM
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thanks to Fannie Brown, jezebelle, and WD.... lynx-11 Wednesday, Dec. 04, 2002 at 1:47 PM
right on yeah Wednesday, Dec. 04, 2002 at 8:29 PM
Rent Control erg! Wednesday, Dec. 04, 2002 at 9:03 PM
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. lynx-11 Sunday, Dec. 08, 2002 at 4:10 PM
. lynx-11 Sunday, Dec. 08, 2002 at 5:29 PM
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. lynx-11 Sunday, Dec. 08, 2002 at 6:17 PM
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. lynx-11 Wednesday, Dec. 11, 2002 at 1:28 PM
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. lynx-11 Wednesday, Dec. 11, 2002 at 3:23 PM
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uh, no (tee hee) Thursday, Dec. 12, 2002 at 3:18 PM
. lynx-11 Thursday, Dec. 12, 2002 at 7:43 PM
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. lynx-11 Thursday, Dec. 12, 2002 at 8:45 PM
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Wow! The Hammer Monday, Dec. 30, 2002 at 9:39 PM
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