News and Views
It's being called one of the largest rent increases ever in San Francisco. A North Beach tenant recently received notice from his landlord that the rent on his apartment was going up from $1,800 a month to $8,000. Neil Hutchinson, who has lived in the building at Columbus and Scotland streets for six years, has been hit with a rent increase of 344 percent.
A group of Concord residents who have been locked in a battle with a property manager are asking city leaders Monday to consider adopting tenant protection policies. The tenants are gathering an hour before a Housing and Economic Development Committee meeting at 5:30 p.m. in the City Council chambers and will be arguing for the need for rent control and just cause for eviction policies in Concord.
June 27, 2016
San Mateo tenant activists submitted more than 11,000 signatures for a rent control initiative, according to Faith In Action's Peninsula housing lead Aracely Mondragon, who helped lead the signature gathering campaign. This comes just two weeks after a similar action by the Mountain View Tenants Coalition.
One South Bay community is seeing soaring demand for housing -- so much so that some residents are redefining the concept of housing itself. In the 2300 block of Latham Street, a fleet of old-time RVs line the street. They aren't parked, however, as play things for the affluent. These RVs are symbolic of a new concept for affordable housing and represents a neighborhood within a neighborhood.
The high cost of housing is one of the most challenging planning issues of our time. The meager supply of affordable housing is a major contributor to the problem, yet the policy tools to address the shortfall often seem to worsen the problem. But this is because they ignore the underlying infrastructure and financing to support growth.
Below is a transcript of our former Central Valley Organizer Simone Cranston-Rhodes acceptance speech for the Way of Peace Award for Youth given by The Center for Non-Violence in Fresno:
June 16, 2016
In the article “In Silicon Valley Suburbs, Calls to Limit the Soaring Rents” the NY Times effectively published California Apartment Association talking points and assumptions without checking the facts. Here are three of the most inaccurate statements that assume the facts are settled:
June 14, 2016
Mountain View residents are likely to vote on rent control this November, according to the Mountain View Tenants Coalition. On Tuesday, the Coalition submitted more than 7,300 signatures for a rent control initiative to the city clerk, according to Communications Organizer Daniel Debolt. Among other things, the initiative would tie maximum allowable rents to changes in the Bay Area Consumer Price Index, a measure of inflation that has averaged a 2.5 percent annual increase over the last 10 years. The new would only apply to units first occupied on or before Feb. 1, 1995.
June 14, 2016
Governor Jerry Brown has offered California’s cash-starved affordable housing industry a deal: pass his “as of right” housing measure in exchange for $400 million to address the state’s housing crisis. When this $400 million is added to the over $200 million from the Senate’s No Place Like Home plan and the $366 million from the Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund (from cap and trade auctions) it amounts to roughly $1 billion in new affordable housing funds to California in the new budget.
June 13, 2016
Members of the Mountain View Tenants Coalition are reporting this week they have collected more than 7,100 signatures, far more than needed to place their rent control initiative onto the November ballot. The group says it intends to submit the signatures and other paperwork for the measure to City Hall on Tuesday.
The relentless search in major cities for affordable yet aesthetically pleasing housing isn't getting any easier. Real estate firm Douglas Elliman released a report this week showing New York's white hot rental market—one of the most torrid in the country along with San Francisco—experienced a marginal cooling in May. During the month, median rent prices in the city dipped 0.4 percent to $3,358 from a year ago, helped by concessions offered by landlords to prospective tenants.
After years of punishing rent increases, activists across Silicon Valley and the San Francisco Bay Area are pushing a spate of rent control proposals, driven by outrage over soaring housing prices and fears that the growing income gap is turning middle-class families into an endangered species. Those campaigns, if successful, would lead to the largest expansion of tenant laws since the 1970s.
The first volleys were fired in a renewed Mission District housing battle on Thursday, as dozens of activists rallied at City Hall against a recently-resurrected housing project at 16th and Mission that would be the largest planned for the neighborhood. It’s been just a week since the last pitched battle over housing in the neighborhood — a months-long affair concerning a 335-unit housing project on Bryant Street — ended in a loss for activists when the project was approved by the Planning Commission, though not without significant concessions from the developer.
California legislative leaders seeking a big influx of money for low-income housing got Gov. Jerry Brown on board, but there's a catch: Lawmakers will have to approve Brown's contested proposal to speed approval for developments that include affordable units. The plan is aimed at quickly increasing the supply of housing. But some neighborhood activists are furious at the prospect of losing a voice in approving construction that they fear will change the character of their communities.
Affordable housing, the issue that has dominated San Francisco politics for the past three years, is suddenly the hot topic at the state Capitol in Sacramento. That might seem like a good thing, but not all San Francisco housing advocates are happy. In a move that came as a total surprise even to insiders such as state Sen. Mark Leno, D-San Francisco, who is the chairman of the Senate budget committee, Gov. Jerry Brown introduced legislation last month to streamline the environmental review process for proposed housing projects that are consistent with local zoning.
June 9, 2016
The 16th Street Bart Plaza where Spanish-speaking preachers blare sermons from portable amps and plaza regulars spend their days on benches in front of Burger King and Walgreens may soon transform into a square of glass towers, market-rate apartments, and an expanded marketplace — if a recently-resurrected housing project can defeat community opposition.
When the mainstream media cover housing affordability issues, journalists often hone in on gentrification. Young, mostly white, college educated people are moving into urban cities, they say, followed by yoga studios, coffee shops, and luxury apartments. This influx of affluent individuals allegedly fuels the displacement of the poor.
Creepy Startup Will Help Landlords, Employers and Online Dates Strip-Mine Intimate Data from your Facebook Page
June 9, 2016
There’s a scene in the dystopian scifi novel “Ready Player One” in which the protagonist glimpses the dossier of personal information a major tech company has gathered on him. It includes his height and weight, his browser history, his address — even several years of his school transcripts.
June 7, 2016
Supporters of an initiative to impose rent control and limit evictions on multi-family rental properties in the city of San Mateo were gathering signatures at St. Matthew and St. Timothy parishes as they aim to place the measure on the November ballot. About 10,000 signatures are needed for the ballot measure to qualify, said Aracely Mondragon, community organizer for Bay Area Faith in Action, part of San Francisco Organizing Project/Peninsula Interfaith Action and the PICO National Network.
June 7, 2016
Today, Tenants Together, along with a majority of our member organizations, joined a broad coalition of housing rights activists concerned with the Governor's "By-right" development proposal. While we don't disagree with the need to build more housing in California, especially affordable housing, bypassing the community process for development means low-income tenants will get the short end of the stick.