We did it! proclaims the banner atop the Facebook posting of Sonoma County Tenants Union. After a hard-fought battle, the Union won a Just Cause protection ordinance so that 20,000+ tenants are proteccted from being evicted withouot cause. Tenants United Will Never Be Divided! Petaluma City Council once again did the good thing.
It’s a good deed that gives hope we WILL prevail and a Just Transition is possible. The Tenants Union is the Just part of the transition we need to see.
Rebecca Solnit’s new Not Too Late: Changing the Climate Story from Despair to Possibility, essays by smart people – gives hope as does the Tenants Union.
My partner at Oasis Farm, Wayne and I got to be a minor part of the Tenants Union victory as we attended Petaluma City Council a couple of Mon. nights holding up the requisite signs for the Council to see our support after longish chilly rallies with pizza or tomales in front of City Hall.
Sonoma County Tenants Union was calling for permanent Just Cause eviction ruling so people aren’t run out of their apartments at the conveninece of landlords. This approaches rent control for Sonoma County, which, having lived in San Francisco 18 years courtesy of rent control so I could be a single Mom, I APPRECIATE! We could stay in place and be part of San Francisco as these folks can do here and now in our county.
We want to encourage anyone reading this to become allies of groups working toward a Just Transition. Feels good, IS good to actually do something useful!
Here’s what the Tenants Union wants you to know:
WHY DO WE NEED A TENANTS UNION?
Because the rent is too damn high!
According to Rent Cafe, the average rent for a 2-bedroom apartment in Santa Rosa is $1916/month. A person’s wage would need to be nearly three times the minimum wage to afford to rent here. We are paying too much of our income in rent!
Because tenants are disproportionately bearing the brunt of the COVID-19 pandemic—in terms of infection rates, financial impacts, and a looming threat of eviction.
Workers in the service industry, farmworkers, domestic workers, healthcare workers and so many more cannot stay home during the pandemic.
There is more than $8 million of unpaid rental debt PER MONTH in Sonoma County alone.
11,400 households in Sonoma County are at risk of eviction once eviction protections expire.
We fight for legislation to abolish debt, provide financial support to tenants, and to provide adequate PPE and paid sick leave during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Because tenants face discrimination and harassment.
Undocumented tenants, people of color, and LGBTQI+ people face significantly higher rates of discrimination and harassment in their housing.
Because laws that protect tenants are often complex and riddled with loopholes.
We support tenants in knowing their rights and advocating for themselves through our tenant
Because new construction and new development often does not meet the needs of
low- and very low-income people.
We advocate for housing development and housing investment that is community-owned and run and can remain affordable for generations to come. We envision development that does not drive up prices, does not profit already wealthy corporations, does not accelerate gentrification, and does not displace communities already at the margins.