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El Cerrito is not immune to the Bay Area housing crisis that finds long term residents forced to move or pay an extraordinary percent of their income toward rent in order to stay. Although the City Council is looking into short and long term solutions for tenant protection, the City Council’s lack of support for a temporary freeze on rent hikes may result in some families packing their bags and leaving. For example, a resident writes about their story (September 2018) of displacement in El Cerrito Next Door.
“We moved into El Cerrito 9 years ago and paid $2375 for a 3 bedroom, 1 bath. We had a neighbor that was downstairs. During the nearly 8 years we lived there, the rent increased to $2,575 in the last two years of our tenancy there. Last year, owner decided to sell and we had to move. When we looked around May/June timeframe, the going rent was minimally $3,500 for a shared rental. This year, and one year after our last move, we were given notice again to move as the owner is selling. The going rate now is $4,100. I think this is reflective of a rental hike. Needless to say, we couldn’t justify living in El Cerrito anymore and just moved out to Pinole this past week before our 3 kids starts school.”
Another renter of El Cerrito (who chooses to remain anonymous) found herself sleeping in her car after her landlord raised her rent from $1,100 to $1,600 a month. As resident renters struggle to stay in their apartment, the risk of homelessness grows. Not surprising, research conducted by Zillow last year predicts that rising rents will see an increase in homelessness in urban areas. For example, a 5 percent increase in Los Angeles rents would lead to roughly 2,000 additional people experiencing homelessness. Zillow Rising rents and Homelessness
What can residents and local politicians and policy makers do to stop the bleeding of our local low and moderate income seniors, workers and residents?
El Cerrito Human Relations Commission speaks out on El Cerrito Housing Crisis
At their September meeting, members of the Commission listened to testimony from residents about the perils of rent increases, including a story from one of their own Commissioner’s, Makalia Aga. Commission members agreed that housing as a basic right is under the purview of the Commission, as is a call to action to prevent our community from being an elite city, affordable only to those with high incomes. Commission members will be voting on an action to take a resolution for a rent/eviction freeze to the El Cerrito City Council.
Time is Running Out for Renters. As our City Council and other cities seek to develop their commercial area, housing stock and ultimately the health of their city budget, demographic changes are inevitable. According to the Urban Displacement Project (UDP), research on gentrification and displacement bears out the importance of not only increasing production of subsidized and market-rate housing in California’s coastal communities, but also investing in the preservation of housing affordability and stabilizing vulnerable communities.Download the Research Brief here.
Stephen Barton (El Cerrito resident) and Eli Moore recently prepared a report for the Haas Institute, making the case that relief for renters must happen now, and that rent control and just cause eviction although not the only solution, is part of the five pillars to ensure that a city like El Cerrito maintain it’s economically diverse population. Read the full report here: The PDF _Rent Control- Opening the Door 45 minuteVideo Presentation
Do you want to be more involved in creating protection measures for tenants in our city? Please contact us at: firstname.lastname@example.org
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