We Decry the Eviction of Moms 4 Housing


Housing for People, Not Speculators! 

We condemn the cruel and violent eviction of homeless Black mothers and their children in the organization Moms 4 Housing, from a vacant house in West Oakland that they have been occupying for the past two months.  Around 5:30 a.m., Alameda County sheriff’s deputies broke down the door with guns drawn, backed by armed personnel in military fatigues with semi-automatic rifles and armored vehicles.  Authorities arrested two of the moms and two supporters, boarding up the house to prevent reentry.

We decry the terror of eviction, and the wanton waste of public funds against Moms 4 Housing – extreme measures which do nothing to address the crisis of real estate speculation and homelessness engulfing Oakland, especially its Black community.  

We call for charges against those arrested to be dropped immediately.  And we fully support the demands of Moms 4 Housing! We call on the property owner, Wedgewood, to sell the home to Oakland Community Land Trust at the price they bought it for, so the moms may continue to live there and raise their children in peace, with long-term stability; and we call on Oakland and Alameda County to advance policies to repossess vacant homes to secure their use for community needs, to end the inhumane and unnecessary homelessness that has become ubiquitous.

There are nearly four times the number of vacant properties in Oakland as there are homeless individuals.  Wedgewood Properties, a real estate investment firm, prides itself on profiting from flipping properties, which it calls the “backbone” of its business model.  Oakland lost 35,000 homes to foreclosure between 2007 to 2012. The impact was disproportionate in Black and brown neighborhoods, due to predatory and racist subprime lending practices that targeted these residents.  Wedgewood has unapologetically scooped up these foreclosed homes, even retaliating against displaced residents seeking to buy their home back. The house occupied by Moms 4 Housing lay vacant for two years before the moms took action. Wedgewood’s practices, based on speculation rather than sheltering people, drive up housing costs for everyone.

By taking action, the Moms 4 Housing have courageously exposed the roots of our homelessness crisis, and pointed the way forward to real policy solutions. From their own experiences, many of the members of Moms 4 Housing know the intolerable gulf between declining real incomes for low-wage workers and skyrocketing rents, the impossible odds of securing affordable housing or a voucher, and the brutal inadequacy of underfunded homeless services. Policy studies prove that the most effective solution to homelessness is providing stable and affordable housing. Every person and child deserves a home.  

Tuesday morning’s eviction is not an end to this fight. We applaud City Councillors Nikki Fortunato Bas, Dan Kalb, and Council President Rebecca Kaplan for urging Wedgewood to sell the home to Oakland Community Land Trust, and call on government officials to lift all punitive action against the moms and support their demands. Now is the time to listen to Moms 4 Housing and the people most harmed, and act. Across the country, policymakers should heed this growing movement’s call to reign in speculators, including by limiting their rights to profit from flipping homes.

Take action now:

  • Share this statement and your support with the hashtag #WeStandWithTheMoms 
  • Sign the petition to urge Wedgewood to return the house to community control.

 

 


 


 

Renters’ Rights Gains Momentum in Boston

José Velasquez has lived in Boston for the past 28 years. In April 2006, he and his family moved into a 14-unit apartment building on Meridian Street in East Boston. The landlord didn't maintain the place very well, but Velasquez was able to take care of some of the repairs and upkeep himself, and the rent increases were manageable. Then new owners took over the building this summer, and Velasquez and all of his neighbors were given 30-day eviction notices — as with many such mass evictions — so their building could be renovated and rented out at a higher market rate.

Most of the building's residents moved out. But Velasquez and his wife, who live with their adult daughter and niece, both of whom require special care, decided to stay and fight. "I've always paid rent on time. I've never failed them. So I feel I have rights," he explained in his native Spanish. A few days after he received the eviction notice, Velasquez connected with other tenants and organizers through City Life/Vida Urbana, a local housing justice organization that helps people facing eviction or rent hikes stay in their homes. So when the #RenterWeekofAction kicked off its nationwide campaign of coordinated direct actions and renter assemblies with a citywide march in Boston on September 16, Velasquez was there.

Resisting gentrification and building renter power

"[At the march] I spoke with the community about the help we need and the role of Vida Urbana. The event was really beautiful," Velasquez recalled. "We need to defend our rights because, if we don't, the rich come to step over us. We need to fight for the well-being of our families." He continued, "The rich are coming to Boston to buy properties, turning them into condominiums and making buildings expensive. But the poor also want to live well and care for our families."

His story is all too common: throughout the United States, as rents rise and wages remain stagnant, a growing number of renters are unable to afford the cost of housing. Boston is no exception.

Renters across the country are being squeezed and displaced," said Darnell Johnson of Right to the City Boston. "While the crisis is worsening, we also believe that renters are beginning to wake up to enormous power we have when organized. At Homes For All, we're supporting communities in organizing tenants unions and neighborhood groups to defend our housing, reclaim our communities, and win community control of land, housing, and development that impacts working-class people."

To address these challenges, Right to the City and its partner organizations are focused on building power among renters — and in Boston, where more than 390,000 people live in renter households, there is plenty to build on. Sixty-five percent of Boston's residents are renters, and after paying their rent and utilities they contribute nearly $7.5 billion to the Boston economy each year.

But in this city, where the economy and the population are both growing, many long-term residents are at risk of displacement. According to a recent National Equity Atlas analysis of housing affordability and the economic impact of burdensome rents in Boston, from 2000 to 2015 median rents in the city increased by 18 percent, while median renter-household incomes actually declined by 11 percent. So it's not surprising that during the same period, the share of renter households who are rent-burdened (spending more than 30 percent of their income on housing costs) jumped from 42 percent to 51 percent.

The financial burden of high rents isn't only a challenge for families who can barely make ends meet; it's also a strain on the local economy. If no Boston renters were housing burdened — if they spent only what they could afford on rent — they would have an extra $764 million to spend in the community each year, with people of color enjoying the largest percentage gains. Latino renters like the Velasquez family would see a 16 percent increase in their annual disposable income (income after paying for rent and utilities), and their Asian or Pacific Islander counterparts would see a 19 percent gain. On average, each rent-burdened household in the city would have an additional $9,300 each year to help cover the costs of necessities like food, transportation, health care, and childcare.

Renter protections can reduce the high costs of displacement

In the context of accelerating gentrification and skyrocketing rents, the City of Boston has taken a two-pronged approach to address housing affordability: One set of strategies focuses on increasing the supply of affordable housing, setting aside millions of dollars to help affordable housing developers compete in the city's fast-moving real estate market for both existing buildings and new development space. Another group of policies aims to help existing tenants stay in their homes.

Yesterday, the city council passed the Jim Brooks Community Stabilization Act, a just cause eviction ordinance that will "help protect residential tenants and former homeowners living in their homes post-foreclosure against arbitrary, unreasonable, discriminatory, or retaliatory evictions" and give the city greater ability to track evictions in real time. Another legislative proposal would give tenants the right of first refusal on foreclosed properties. And city officials are also working to provide incentives to property owners to keep tenants — and rents — stable.

Last year, Mayor Marty Walsh launched the city's Office of Housing Stability (OHS) with an explicit anti-displacement mission to help residents find and maintain affordable housing. As part of its broad anti-displacement agenda, OHS regularly tracks building sales to identify residents who may be at risk for mass eviction, and reaches out to tenants to inform them of their rights. So when OHS staff heard about the clearing out of the building where the Velasquez family lives, they immediately reached out to City Life/Vida Urbana.

"In the case of a no-fault eviction, tenants can get an additional six months — up to a year for elderly or disabled tenants — but we are finding residents agreeing to leave after just six weeks," said Kate Brady, senior program manager at OHS. "Massachusetts has a lot of tenant-friendly protections, but they only work if people know when and how to assert them." That's why OHS is pushing for state-level legislation that would guarantee a right to legal counsel for tenants facing eviction. "With a right to counsel, tenants can rebalance a power imbalance in which the vast majority of landlords have an attorney, but only 6 percent of tenants do," Brady explained.

For many low-income residents, that imbalance is exacerbated by a mix of market forces that drive up property values while driving down workers' economic power. In May of this year, one month before he received his eviction notice, Velasquez, who works in maintenance, asked his employer for a raise after he heard that several of his co-workers had received pay increases. Instead, his hours were cut. "They took one day off my schedule and reduced my pay," he explained. "They said they didn't have money for me but they were hiring other people."

Not long after, to entice Velasquez to give up his apartment, the building's new owners offered to pay him $400 per month for a period of a year — but he knew it wouldn't be enough. "I said no, because if I leave, the other apartments [out there] are too expensive." According to data from, the median market-rate rent for a two-bedroom unit in Boston was $2,400 a month as of July 2017, and Velasquez estimated that even the cheapest places where he could move with his family cost around $1,800. "Right now, I pay $950," he said. "We break even with the current rent, so I couldn't pay double. I just couldn't afford it."

Beyond the family budget, OHS points to the potential public savings in shelter and health-care costs as another incentive to help renters stay in place. "Preventing displacement not only keeps families stable in terms of their work, schools, and communities," explained Lisa Pollack, director of communications for the Department of Neighborhood Development, "the costs savings can be astronomical." Pollack added, "We really need to get farther upstream" to prevent crises rather than just responding to them.

For the tens of thousands of families in Boston struggling to get by, the difference could be life-changing. "Before I learned about Vida Urbana I would just think and cry inside," Velasquez said. "But now I have learned that everyone must defend their rights. Even if you don't speak English and are an immigrant, even the undocumented — we all have rights."

A Federal Job Guarantee Is a Crucial Tool to Fight Inequality

Crossposted from Inequality.org

By Sarah Treuhaft and Angela Glover Blackwell

Skyrocketing inequality and persistent racial inequities are erasing the American dream for all but the lucky few and hobbling true economic prosperity. Tackling this toxic inequality must be the fight of this decade, and doing so requires breaking up the stranglehold of wealth at the top, growing the largest and most diverse middle class in history, and ensuring that no person or family falls below a standard of living that affords them economic security and dignity.

One crucial tool that would go a long way toward establishing a new baseline of economic security for all is a Federal Job Guarantee: a public option for a good job that pays a living-wage and offers full benefits on projects that address long-neglected community needs and produce public benefits.

Environmental restoration and energy efficiency retrofits to address our climate crisis; sidewalk and street repair, public art, and greening projects to reinvigorate disinvested neighborhoods; and new teachers’ aides, child care workers, and elder care workers to create a care infrastructure are just a few examples of the community-building work that would become possible with a job guarantee.

Crossposted from Inequality.org

$50,000 Competition Launched for Cities and Counties Committed to Fine and Fee Justice

By Treasurer José Cisneros, Joanna Weiss, Lisa Foster, and Michael McAfee

Governments across the country assess a variety of fees and fines to raise revenue and sanction unlawful conduct. In recent years, however, a growing number of policymakers and courts have realized that, for low-income people, particularly people of color, fines and fees often result in a cascade of consequences that takes generations to reverse. Low-income families who cannot pay their fines and fees can have their driver’s licenses suspended, wages garnished, tax refunds intercepted, and credit negatively impacted. They typically face growing and insurmountable levels of debt, deepening financial insecurity, and poverty.

At the same time, many local governments and courts receive little to no financial benefit from fines and fees, because the cost of collecting them is nearly as high — if not higher — than the amount collected. According to a report by the East Bay Community Law Center, for example, in 2016 Alameda County, California, spent $1.6 million to collect $1.3 million in fines, fees, and restitution, a loss of over a quarter million dollars. A recent study by the Brennan Center for Justice found that in 2016 Bernalillo County — home to the city of Albuquerque, the largest city in New Mexico — lost $316,000 in collecting fines and fees. The Brennan Center also found that the Texas and New Mexico counties it studied spent 41 cents of every dollar of revenue raised from fines and fees on expenses for in-court hearings and jail costs alone.

Increasingly, city and county leaders are recognizing that fines and fees are often a lose-lose for their residents and government and are beginning to advance reforms to address the disproportionate burden their fines, fees, tickets, and other financial penalties place on low-income residents and residents of color. Chicago, for example, recently ended the practice of suspending driver’s licenses for the nonpayment of parking tickets. In Durham, North Carolina, the district attorney and courts, in collaboration with the Durham Innovation Lab, agreed to waive old traffic fines and fees and helped restore 35,000 driver’s licenses that had been suspended for nonpayment. And in San Francisco, the Treasurer’s San Francisco Financial Justice Project has spearheaded numerous fine and fee reforms, including eliminating criminal justice administrative fees, waiving over $30 million in related debt for thousands of low-income people, and ending driver’s license suspensions for the nonpayment of traffic tickets.

Local officials and court leaders across the country driving these reforms are united by several core beliefs: 1) it is possible to hold people accountable without putting them in financial distress; 2) people with lower incomes should not face more severe consequences than middle- and upper-income residents; and 3) governments should not balance their books on the backs of the least fortunate individuals in their communities.

To seize upon and expand this momentum for change, PolicyLink, The San Francisco Financial Justice Project, and the Fines and Fees Justice Center have established Cities & Counties for Fine and Fee Justice, a national network committed to leading on meaningful, local fine and fee reform that works better for people — and for government.

We’re excited to share that we are launching a $50,000 technical assistance competition for cities and counties around the country. Local officials are invited to apply to have an opportunity to lead local teams that advance cutting-edge policies, engage with experts and peers from across the country, and catalyze a national movement to advance equitable fine and fee reform. Selected localities will each receive grant funding, individualized technical assistance, and training on a range of tools, strategies, promising policies, and best practices.
Local officials who want to advance more just and equitable fine and fee policies should review the Cities & Counties for Fine and Fee Justice FAQs to learn more about the network and apply to become a member. Our goal is to help build a national movement of cities and counties implementing practical, impactful models of reform that other places can easily replicate. We hope that city and county officials will recognize this opportunity to become national leaders on financial justice and smart government and join us in our endeavor.

José Cisneros is the Treasurer of the City and County of San Francisco. Joanna Weiss and Lisa Foster are Co-Directors of the Fines and Fees Justice Center. Michael McAfee is the CEO of PolicyLink.

New Report Analyzes 150 U.S. Regions’ Economies Sharing Stressors and Solutions in Advanced Industries, Manufacturing and Service Sectors

Economic conditions in the U.S. have become increasingly polarized: despite falling unemployment and steady job growth, economic insecurity has risen dramatically over the last several decades and a third of the nation now lives below 200 percent of the poverty line. These divergent narratives of growth and hardship are partly a product of a rapidly evolving job market, where accelerating technological forces are creating opportunity for some, and leaving many others behind. To foster sustainable growth amid a shifting economic landscape, local leaders must understand how these trends interact at the regional level, where there are crucial opportunities to intervene.

In Regional Economies in Transition: Analyzing Trends in Advanced Industries, Manufacturing, and the Service Sector to Inform Inclusive Growth Strategies, PolicyLink and the USC Program for Environmental and Regional Equity (PERE), with support from the Mastercard Center for Inclusive Growth, analyzes how local economies are adapting to a post-industrial economy. The report presents a typology that classifies the nation’s 150 largest metropolitan areas according to three labor market trends that are key to issues of economic inclusion and equitable growth: (1) the growth of advanced industries, such as computer systems design and chemical manufacturing; (2) the decline of traditional manufacturing jobs; and (3) the quality of jobs in service-sector industries that generally do not require a B.A. degree and are therefore more accessible to economically insecure workers.

“Year after year, jobs reports show growth at the top and bottom of the earnings distribution, and an ever-widening economic gulf between those who have skills that fetch high returns in the new economy and those that do not,” says Justin Scoggins, co-author of the report and Data Manager at PERE.  “While there are many pieces to the puzzle of wealth inequality in America, the changes seen in tech, traditional manufacturing, and the service industry are crucial.”

Examining how these three industries have changed during the pivotal period pre- and post-Recession (2005-2015), this categorization of regions helps illuminate the unique challenges and opportunities each region faces [see chart below].

  • In regions with thriving tech sectors (Charlotte, NC; San Jose, CA, e.g.), the analysis found that tech industry growth can have spillover effects, increasing the quality of service jobs in a region. These effects alone won’t bolster economic inclusion unless local leaders implement targeted strategies to connect those left behind to quality employment opportunities.
  • Though traditional manufacturing is largely on the decline, a handful of regions (Baton Rouge, LA; Houston, TX, e.g.) have breathed new life into their manufacturing sectors. In these places, local leaders should invest in the revitalization of manufacturing, which can provide good jobs for those without a degree, while supporting worker-owned cooperatives and other strategies for bolstering worker power.
  • Some regions (Philadelphia, PA) are finding new avenues for job growth and workforce development outside of tech and manufacturing by investing in “eds and meds” — universities and health care systems. Still, these cities must steer growth toward inclusion to combat legacies of racial economic exclusion, and can do so by aligning business development strategies to serve disadvantaged workers and people of color.

In addition to the typology, three case studies were developed representing different regional types outlined in the report, with particular attention to outcomes for economically insecure residents and residents of color: Charlotte, NC; Philadelphia, PA; and, Stockton, CA.

“The path to shared prosperity will require different solutions in different regions, but the goal of building inclusive economies must be a shared one,” says Abbie Langston, co-author of the report and Senior Associate at PolicyLink.  “Within a decade the majority of the young workforce will be workers of color. To achieve equitable growth, local leaders must find ways to tap the talent and potential of their diverse workforces and tear down longstanding barriers to economic participation.”

Though strategies for inclusive growth must be tailored to the unique character of each region, the report also highlights policy goals and strategies that are demonstrating success across diverse regional contexts:

“Today’s report is intended to help equip decision-makers with new tools and insights to ensure communities thrive and prosper as they navigate rapid change,” said Sandy Fernandez, director, North America, Mastercard Center for Inclusive Growth. “Working across public, private and non-profit sectors, we can help build digital economies that are inclusive and work for everyone.”

Advancing Economic Inclusion in Southern Cities: New Orleans


Photo by Chris Schildt
Asali DeVan Ecclesiastes, Director of Strategic Neighborhood Development at the New Orleans Business Alliance, gave participants a tour of the Lafitte Greenway.

Six cities from around the South gathered in New Orleans on October 22-24 for the ninth convening of the Southern Cities Economic Inclusion initiative, hosted by the Annie E. Casey Foundation. City staff and community leaders from Asheville, Atlanta, Charlotte, Memphis, New Orleans, and Richmond met to strategize on how to create thriving, local economies grounded in racial equity – just and fair inclusion into society so that all can participate, prosper, and reach their full potential.

Participants drew inspiration from the host city, New Orleans. A walking tour took participants to the Lafitte Greenway and the Claiborne Corridor Cultural Innovation District, which is bringing entrepreneurs, murals, and cultural events together to revitalize a historically African American business district that was devastated by the construction of an elevated highway, I-10. The New Orleans Business Alliance – established as a public-private partnership to accelerate inclusive economic development in the city – shared their work to advance “Culture Equity Prosperity” through business supports and equitable economic development.

But challenges remain. Housing costs have risen dramatically in many low-income neighborhoods in New Orleans, driven by outside investment that many fear will be exasperated by the new federal Opportunity Zones tax incentive. At the same time, middle-class African American neighborhoods in New Orleans East struggle to attract investment in neighborhood-serving businesses. In response to these challenges, the city has passed stronger equitable development tools, such as a mandatory affordable housing inclusionary policy, and stronger clawback provisions when goals are not met.

A central theme of the convening was the need for equity leadership across city government, from frontline staff who provide vital services every day, to the Mayor and department leaders who must define success in terms of equity outcomes. To help institutionalize equity in city government, the group workshopped developing a new assessment tool that would allow cities to determine how well they are advancing economic inclusion strategies, including small business supports, equitable procurement and contracting, collecting data, and building new partnerships.

Interrupting the School-to-Prison Pipeline through Cultural Organizing

Pop-up gallery of art created in collaboration with artist Kate DeCiccio by youth in Richmond, VA.
(Photo Credit: Performing Statistics)


To truly achieve equitable public safety, we must reduce the harm of policing while building up the infrastructure we need to keep all communities — including communities of color — safe and thriving. Informed by our past efforts to advance community-centered policing, PolicyLink works to dismantle institutional barriers to police accountability by advocating for structures, policies, and assessments that increase police accountability and decrease criminalization and mass incarceration. We also advocate to rightsize the role of law enforcement by challenging untested assumptions about the value-add of law enforcement, working with community advocates to shift funding away from policing and jails to address the root causes of poverty and violence, and supporting community-led alternatives that can fulfill police functions in a safer, more effective way. 

Our close partnership with Performing Statistics was one example of our work toward advancing these priorities. Performing Statistics is a cultural organizing project promoting the perspectives of young people involved with the juvenile system to help reduce and improve interactions with police and to work towards police-free schools.

Performing Statistics was created in Richmond, VA in 2014 by artist Mark Strandquist in collaboration with ART 180 — a creative youth development nonprofit — and Legal Aid Justice Center. In July 2019, the project became independent and is now fiscally sponsored by Social and Environmental Entrepreneurs. Over the course of five years, the program has connected incarcerated youth with artists, advocates, and legal experts and the broader youth justice movement in Virginia.

(see images of the youth-created art from the Performance Statistics pop-up gallery)

Performing Statistics uses cultural organizing as a key strategy to destroy stereotypes, create counter-narratives, and disrupt the racism embedded in the juvenile justice system. The project targets three main systems: education, law enforcement, and juvenile justice, and it centers the perspectives of youth and families who are most impacted as experts on transforming those systems; dismantling the school-to-prison pipeline; and making communities just, safe, and whole.

With support from the Kresge Foundation, PolicyLink worked with Performing Statistics from 2016-2018, providing resource support and acting as a thought partner to move the needle on translating its youth-centered training of the Richmond Police Department into long-term, structural policy change, including proposing better data collection and reporting on interactions between police and youth by the Richmond Police Department. The ongoing training — provided to every officer in the department — combines empathy building, trauma-informed approaches, family perspectives, and avenues for police officers to identify ways to disrupt the school-to-prison pipeline.

"Our work with the Richmond Police Department is a bit like triage versus surgery,” says Performing Statistics Project Director Trey Hartt. “We ultimately want a world without cops in schools, where young people are no longer criminalized the moment they step outside their door, but we also recognize that in the short-term cops aren't receiving any training on youth development, youth engagement, trauma-informed approaches, and the long-term impact on their decision to arrest. PolicyLink is helping us marry those two needs, so we don't lose sight of the long-term policy change goals."

PolicyLink also brought Performing Statistics into a cohort of arts and culture organizations focused on achieving policy change. The cohort met several times, including at a Design Dash focused on supporting Philadelphia’s Village of Arts and Humanities and at the PolicyLink Equity Summit in April 2018.

But the learning went both ways, with Performing Statistics modeling strategies that leveraged the relationship between arts, culture, and policy. For example, Performing Statistics unveiled a pop-up gallery of youth-created art and storytelling near the state capitol building for an audience of legislators. According to Performing Statistics Creative Director Mark Strandquist, “Story has the power to transform individuals and communities. Our work with teens in the system is about bringing decision-makers along the school-to-prison pipeline more proximate to the stories and ideas of young people who are most impacted by their decisions.”

Our work with Performing Statistics also reinforced the value of stories’ power to move hearts and minds. Dramatically shifting the narrative about policing will be necessary to dismantle institutional barriers to police accountability and to right-size the role of law enforcement. Inspired by Performing Statistics, PolicyLink is partnering with artists and people from communities most impacted by over-policing, surveillance, and police violence to shift public dollars from policing toward things that truly keep people safe: investment in basic resources, like food, education, housing, green jobs, and healthcare. 

Given its creative, community-centered, and ambitious approach, Performing Statistics will undoubtedly be successful going forward as it continues to expand its national presence and works to translate its police training into bold, structural impact aligned with PolicyLink goals: removing police from schools, dismantling the school-to-prison pipeline, and closing youth prisons.

For more information, please contact Anand Subramanian or Trey Hartt.

 

The Keep Families Home Coalition Applauds Passage of the California Tenant Protection Act (AB 1482)


We applaud the California State Assembly for taking a historic step today in addressing California’s housing crisis. By passing the California Tenant Protection Act (AB 1482), California now leads other states in the nation in the fight against rent gouging and unscrupulous landlords who for too long have been able to evict renters without just cause. That stops with this legislation.

A resurgence of organizing by renters and housing justice organizations has resulted in new tenant protections in a growing number of cities across California. AB 1482 is the first major statewide expansion of tenant protections resulting from this growth in tenant voice and power.

While much work remains, we celebrate today’s victory.

We want to thank Assemblymembers David Chiu (D-San Francisco), Rob Bonta (D-Oakland), Richard Bloom (D-Santa Monica), Timothy Grayson (D-Concord), Buffy Wicks (D-Oakland), and Speaker Anthony Rendon (D-Los Angeles), as well as Senate President pro Tempore Tony Atkins (D-San Diego), Senator Robert Hertzberg (D-Van Nuys), and Governor Gavin Newsom. Their leadership has been invaluable and will ensure that millions of California renters enjoy greater housing stability.

Most importantly, we thank the countless renters and community members whose leadership, time, and experience were critical to securing this victory. 

A diverse and wide ranging coalition of over 157 organizations and associations – representing thousands of workers, renters, and businesses – worked hand in hand to ensure this legislation’s passage. The corporate real estate lobby in California and around the country is on notice: the majority of businesses now recognize that it is in their interest to join in support of their own employees, other renters and advocates to fight for affordable housing.

We look forward to building on this momentum to provide better housing security for the 17 million renters across California and to ultimately end the state’s housing crisis.

The Keep Families Home coalition sponsoring AB 1482 includes ACCE Action, Public Advocates, PICO California, PolicyLink, SEIU California, TechEquity Collaborative, and the Western Center on Law and Poverty.

Take Action: Protect California Renters

Exciting news! We are on the verge of passing a new law, the California Tenant Protection Act (AB 1482),  in the California Assembly that will end rent gouging and stop landlords from evicting tenants without just cause
 
We are only a few votes shy of being able to pass this law over the next two weeks. Can you spare 30 seconds today to contact your assembly member and ask for their support? Corporate interests are trying to kill this legislation – and we need your voices to fight back. 
 
CLICK HERE for an easy tool that allows you to email key assembly members and will connect you directly to the right office, where you can leave a simple message expressing your support. It takes less than a minute! 

For more information on how you can help protect renters and strengthen California communities, please find district factsheets and assemblymember contact information below:

  • Assemblymember Al Murasutchi -- AD 66, Torance,Redondo Beach, Rancho Palos Verdes
    (916) 319-2066 or @AsmMuratsuchi
  • Assemblymember Autumn Burke -- AD 62, Inglewood, Hawthorne, El Segundo:
    (916) 319-2062 or @AsmAutumnBurke
  • Assemblymember Tom Daly -- AD 69, Anaheim, Santa Ana):
    (916) 319-2069
  • Assemblymember Freddie Rodriguez -- AD 52, Ontario, Pomona, Chino:
    (916) 319-2052 or @AsmRodriguez52
  • Assemblymember Blanca Rubio -- AD 48, Covina, Azusa, Baldwin Park:
    (916) 319-2048 or @AsmBlancaRubio
  • Assemblymember Eduardo Garcia -- AD 56, Eastern Riverside County, Imperial County:
    (916) 319-2056 or @AsmEGarciaAD56
  • Assemblymember Cristina Garcia -- AD 58, Bell Gardens, Norwalk, Pico Rivera:
    (916) 319-2058 or @AsmGarcia
  • Assemblymember Ed Chau -- AD 49, Rosemead, Arcadia, South Pasadena:
    (916) 319-2049 or @AsmEdChau

Thanks for your help in fighting for more affordable rents and basic fairness for California renters.  

A Victory Against Police Violence, Won by Families

On Monday, surrounded by family members who have lost their loved ones to deadly police force, California Governor Gavin Newsom signed into law AB 392: The California Act to Save Lives, authored by Assemblymember Dr. Shirley Weber of San Diego.

This legislation is the result of years of courageous organizing by directly impacted families; and the Alliance for Boys and Men of Color and PolicyLink have been proud members of the #LetUsLive coalition, as co-sponsors and partners in this campaign to protect our communities from police violence.
 
Because of our collective efforts of the #LetUsLive coalition, California will go from having one of the deadliest use-of-force laws in the nation, to one of the most protective — saving countless lives.
 
This victory was made possible by leaders like Kori McCoy, who spoke at the signing ceremony and whose younger brother, Willie McCoy, was killed last February by six officers firing 55 shots in less than four seconds.
 
Kori noted: "The reality is, officers rarely face consequences, and families like mine are left to wonder who is policing the police. This law offers a ray of solace for my family and hope that it will spare other families from bearing this burden with us."
 
Now that AB 392 is the law, California is the ONLY state to combine the "necessary standard" with requirement that courts consider officers' conduct leading up to a use of deadly force in determining its legality. This commonsense change brings a glimmer of hope and the promise of greater accountability as we keep fighting to end the epidemic of police violence.
 
This is only the beginning. We recognize that we have much more work to do so all communities — particularly Black, Latinx, and Native American — can live with dignity and free from police violence.
 
That’s why the Alliance for Boys and Men of Color and PolicyLink will continue to organize to ensure the just implementation of AB 392 throughout California and advocate for community-led initiatives that invest in safety, not policing. Help us transform unjust systems and advance equity by signing up to take action with the Alliance for Boys and Men of Color.

For Willie McCoy, Myra Micalizio, Charlie Salinas, Oscar Grant, James De La Rosa, and all of the other loved ones whose lives were cut short, let us honor them with this victory and by continuing the fight.

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