Access to safe and affordable housing without the fear of forced eviction is a fundamental human right. Yet, for too long our government has failed in ensuring this right to all of our fellow citizens. This failure has become a crisis worse here in California, where a third of all renters statewide spend more than half their income on rent.
The insufficient development of affordable housing and the concentration of development in luxurious and very profitable housing have caused affordable housing shortages. There is currently an estimated 1.5 million shortfall of low-income rental units across the state.
This affordable housing crisis we suffer requires a serious government intervention to prevent it from growing into a humanitarian disaster. It requires a massive financial investment by the State, the promotion of real low-income housing with tax incentives, higher taxes on luxury construction and the participation of State-owned land in ‘land trust’ developments.Low-income housing is a proven method of cooling off the market and keeping all housing costs in neighborhoods affordable.
But first, we must stop the bleeding. Cities must mobilize and pass local rent control ordinance like we did in Richmond last year. Council and voters passed the first rent control and just cause for eviction law in California in 30 years.
At the state level I will work with all true progressives to repeal the Costa Hawkins Rental Housing Act and the Ellis Act. Costa Hawkins has limited local government’s ability to enact rent control on over half of all units in California (newer buildings). The Ellis Act is used by landlords to change the use of a building and to get out of the rental business.
Immediately after these repeals, we must implement fair statewide rent control to combat greedy landlords from evicting low income tenants just to replace them with wealthier tenants for higher profits. We also need a ‘speculator’s tax’ that discourages landlords from keeping houses unoccupied.
We must get active in our communities, getting incorruptible corporate-free candidates elected to local rent boards and all levels of government.
Together, we can make a California where affordable housing is accessible and the fear of being homeless is non-existent. We simply need the political backbone for it. Thank you for standing strong with me today. We will get there!