At a series of rallies held throughout California, a coalition of renters, small landlords, labor allies, faith-based organizations, and civil rights leaders came together to place the Affordable Housing Act on the November ballot. It will allow communities to create reasonable limits on excessive rents. The coalition announced that more than 588,542 signatures were collected for the initiative.
“Local government should have control over its streets and Sacramento took that power from us. It is time for us to take it back. You have my full support, let’s pass this and give the power back to the people,” said Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti at the Los Angeles rally.
“Everyone in California knows, the rent is too damn high,” said Melvin Willis, Richmond City Vice-Mayor and organizer with ACCE Action. “We only needed about 402,000 signatures to qualify the initiative. We easily surpassed that by collecting more than 588,542. These are voters who are standing up for fairness in the rental market, and standing against rent gouging. Repealing the Costa-Hawkins Act will give cities a critical tool to tackle the state’s housing affordability crisis.”
The Affordable Housing Act will repeal the Costa-Hawkins Rental Housing Act, an onerous state law that prohibits communities from setting reasonable and fair limits on rent increases on single family homes, condos and apartments built after 1995.
More than 300 renters, landlords, housing advocates and others displaced by California’s housing affordability crisis held marches at the State Capitol and at the Los Angeles and Oakland city halls to officially turn in the signatures to qualify the initiative.
“I am honored to stand together with so many community members working hard to remedy the crisis of housing displacement,” said Oakland City Councilmember-at-Large, Rebecca Kaplan. “Skyrocketing rents are causing suffering for families and community. Neighborhood cohesion is undermined and our communities struggle to attract and retain teachers, nurses, and other vital workers who can’t afford rising rents. Costa-Hawkins is a large and growing problem, because it exempts more units from rent protection each year that passes, causing hardship to increasing numbers of tenants. And, as many homes were bought up in large numbers by speculators during the foreclosure crisis, denying rent protections to tenants of these houses is worsening our housing crisis. Costa-Hawkins denies cities local control to fix these problems. To help protect our communities, reduce displacement, and restore local control, we should repeal Costa-Hawkins!”
“I am proud to live in Los Angeles, which is diverse and filled with culture. However, with the housing affordability crisis in full swing, I know many who have left the city because they can no longer afford to live here. Los Angeles can’t be a place purely for the privileged. We must protect renters from being kicked-out of their homes by unreasonable rents,” said Walt Senterfitt of the Los Angeles Tenants Union.
Among the individuals endorsing the initiative: Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, labor leader Maria Elena Durazo, Dolores Huerta, and State Senator Kevin De Leon. Over 125 organizations have endorsed so far, including the City of West Hollywood, the California Nurses Association, AFSCME Local 3299, UFCW 770, AFT Local 2121, the United Teachers of Los Angeles (UTLA), ACLU-Southern California, Housing Now!, PICO California, CHIRLA, Black Community Clergy & Labor Alliance, as well as the San Francisco, Oakland and Los Angeles tenants unions.
County elections officials and the Secretary of State’s office must now officially count the signatures and certify the Affordable Housing Act for the November ballot.