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Affordable Housing

Advocates Pass Signature Thresholds, Ratcheting up Rent Control Fight

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SACRAMENTO — AHF is continuing to battle to return the ability of local communities to enact rent control on buildings currently prohibited by the Costa-Hawkins Rental Housing Act of 1995 — the state law that severely limits the scope of rent control measures in California.

Enough signatures have been collected to force the legislature to consider the matter. They say if action is not taken, another set of signatures has been collected to take the matter directly to the ballot box.

In just two short months, rent control advocates in California have collected over 325,000 signatures. The total number collected so far by the organizations leading the effort, Housing Is A Human Right and AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF), is slightly more than half the 623,212 signatures needed to qualify the initiative for the November 2020 California election.

Backers of the initiative intend to collect over 915,000 voter signatures as a cushion for the state’s signature verification process.

On August 8th, initiative backers announced they had collected 31% of voter signatures needed (195,309 signatures)—well above the 25% benchmark of signatures that forces the California State Legislature to hold joint legislative committee hearings in Sacramento on the initiative.

These required hearings must be held no later than 131 days before the November 2020 election (by or before June 25, 2020).

However, backers of the initiative are also urging legislators in Sacramento to act independently and act now to fix the Costa-Hawkins Rental Housing Act of 1995, the state law that severely limits the scope of rent control measures in California.

“There are still a few weeks remaining in the 2019 California legislative session and we strongly urge legislators to now work to craft alternative legislation to amend the Costa-Hawkins Act to allow for stronger rent control measures in more communities statewide,” said Michael Weinstein, president of AIDS Healthcare Foundation.

“Costa-Hawkins is a harmful bill..that places a stranglehold on nearly all California communities…” —  Michael Weinstein, President of AHF

In a further comment, Weinstein added, “The Costa-Hawkins is a harmful bill—one passed by just one vote in 1995—that places a stranglehold on nearly all California communities, preventing them from instituting proper rent control measures in their jurisdictions.

Make no mistake: if the legislature fails to enact meaningful rent reforms before June 25, 2020, we will take the Rental Affordability Act to the November 2020 ballot.”

For years, seniors, families, teachers, recent college graduates and millions of other renters have been struggling with a devastating housing affordability crisis, but the California State Legislature has refused to substantively respond to the persistent problem of skyrocketing rents.

The Rental Affordability Act will allow local governments to expand their rent control policies to housing that is more than 15 years old; allow local governments to limit the rent increase for a new tenant who moves into a vacated unit—a landlord can raise the rent by no more than 15% over the next three years; and exempts the owner of one or two homes from any rent control law.

“Millions of Californians desperately need relief as they are being forced to pay unfair, excessive rents simply to keep a roof over their heads,” says René Christian Moya, director of Housing Is A Human Right.

He believes that the rent is still too damn high, and these ever-increasing rents also contribute to a sharp spike in homelessness. “As one of our ballot initiative signature gatherers aptly noted: ‘Rents Up, tents up!’ We need urgent solutions to our housing affordability crisis and the Rental Affordability Act is one of those key solutions.”

A recent poll conducted by A/B Consulting and commissioned by AIDS Healthcare Foundation found that 75% of voters who are likely and extremely likely to vote in next year’s General Election said they were likely to support the Rental Affordability Act.

Affordable Housing

LA LGBT Senior Services Affordable Housing Event -Feb 21

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PLUMMER PARK — The Los Angeles LGBT Center has a new development in senior housing, and are offering info and answering questions about 98 new affordable and accessible units -tomorrow at Plummer Park. The development, located at 1127 N Las Palmas, Los Angeles CA 90038, will be open in fall 2020, brought to us in part by Thomas Safran and Associates.

The Center’s case managers are experts at helping seniors navigate the complex world of Social Security, Medicare, affordable housing, and more. Please join them and learn about how to grab one of these apartments and what what services they offer for veteran and disabled community members.

Applications will be available Feb. 26-March 4.

More information about the housing at mccaddencampus.com

RSVP for Senior Services events through the Senior Services Portal (seniors.lalgbtcenter.org).

The Center’s website states “The LGBT Center is a safe and welcoming place where individuals of all ages can find help, as well as hope and support, when they need it the most…From housing homeless youth to providing affordable housing for seniors—and from helping transgender people find employment to providing legal support for asylum seekers—no organization serves more LGBT people than the Center.”

Check their calendar for upcoming activities and events that include:

  • Health and wellness programs
  • Enrichment classes (computer, writing, dancing, acting, photograph, etc.)
  • Monthly dinners and social networking opportunities
  • Cultural excursions (theater, opera, museums, etc.)
  • Educational seminars and workshop
  • Senior-Youth Photo Project
  • Senior-Youth Dinners

More info about the center at lalgbtcenter.org

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Affordable Housing

City Council Member Introduces Push for LA to Develop Social Housing

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Mike Bonin, City Council - Photo from mikebonin.com

LOS ANGELES (Urbanize LA) — The City of Los Angeles could be getting into the housing development game, according to a motion recently introduced by Councilmember Mike Bonin.

SVA Architects Citing a study from the California Housing Partnership and Southern California Association of Nonprofit Housing, Bonin notes that Los Angeles County needs to add more than 500,000 units of affordable housing simply to meet existing demand from low-income renters.

Given the scale of the current shortfall of low-income and mid-range workforce housing, Bonin contends that the region will never address its needs by relying solely on private sector builders to developer affordable housing through tax credits, subsidies, and zoning incentives.

Instead, Bonin proposes the development of social housing – housing that is both built and owned by the government. But rather than the housing projects […]

Continue reading at urbanize.la

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Affordable Housing

Feb 11 & 18: Landlord/Tenant Workshops Discuss Rent Stabilization

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Los Angeles County rent control ordinance approved by Board of Supervisors

WEST HOLLYWOOD– The City of West Hollywood presents Tenant Advanced, the latest in a series of “RSO Building Blocks” workshops that educate property owners, managers, tenants, and other community members about the City’s Rent Stabilization Ordinance.

The February 11 session of the RSO Building Blocks series will provide tenants with an additional understanding of their protections under the Rent Stabilization Ordinance (RSO).

Topics will include eviction protections, tenant harassment and mediation services, social services for low-income seniors, reasonable accommodations under the Fair Housing Act, and information about pets, service dogs, and therapy animals. This follows the Tenant Basics workshop held on February 4.

Tuesday, February 11, 2020 at 7 p.m. the West Hollywood Community Center at Plummer Park in Rooms 5 and 6, located at 7377 Santa Monica Boulevard.

For more information, please contact Tom Trevor at (323) 848-6472 or ttrevor@weho.org.

The next Landlord Advanced Workshop: Rent Stabilization Ordinance Building Blocks — Tuesday, February 25 at 7 p.m.

This session of the RSO Building Blocks series will provide landlords with an additional understanding of the City’s Rent Stabilization Ordinance (RSO). Topics include registering new tenancies online, paying the program annual fee and how to correctly pass-through half of the fee to tenants, maintenance standards for paint, floor and window blinds, correctly calculating and applying allowable rent increases, maintaining housing services and parking, the rent stabilization petition and hearings process for determining maximum allowable rent and whether housing services have been reduced or removed, tenancy just-cause eviction protections, mediation available to resolve disputes and improve communication, responding to reasonable accommodations requests under the Fair Housing Act, information on pets, service dogs, and therapy animals, and the City’s policy against tenant harassment.

This follows the Landlord Basics workshop on Tuesday, February 18. For more information, please contact Tom Trevor at (323) 848-6472 or ttrevor@weho.org.

Tuesday, February 25, 2020 at 7 p.m. the West Hollywood Community Center at Plummer Park, located at 7377 Santa Monica Boulevard.

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