Tenants Want San Jose to Strengthen Renter Protections

Working Partnerships USA, Affordable Housing Network, PACT, Silicon Valley De Bug, Law Foundation of Silicon Valley, Sacred Heart Housing Action Committee, the South Bay Labor Council and Silicon Valley Rising have been working together in the recent months to get more renter protections for San Jose tenants, this past week they took their concerns to the city to move forward with renter's rights.

San Jose Tenants and Housing Advocates rallied at San Jose City Hall to urge the Rules Committee to move forward with renter protection measures.

Although the committee was not able to discuss the agenda item and vote because of a procedural error, the community still urged the committee members Mayor Sam Liccardo, Vice Mayor Rose Herrera, Councilmember Charles Jones, Councilmember Magdalena Carrasco, and Councilmember Johnny Khamis to create a concrete timeline to end the housing crisis in San Jose.

In the recent weeks community members have been sitting down with councilmembers and their staff to share their concerns about housing and creating stronger tenant protections for renters, including ordinances against discrimination for section 8 voucher holders and just cause eviction protections.

“Our neighborhoods are being destabilized. Particularly our communities of color, low income communities are being ripped apart,” said Maria Noel Fernandez of Working Partnerships USA. 

Councilmember Raul Peralez put forth a memo directing staff to a 6-month work plan to assess and consider adopting tenant protections to be enacted January 1, 2017. Outlining: 1. A prohibition against discrimination based on source of income 2. Recommendations and analysis of San José’s Rental Rights and Referrals Program, and 3. Rent Control Modification

Luz Mendoza, a leader with Somos Mayfair, said she was finally at a point where she felt stable – having lived in the same apartment building for nearly 5 years. Her first few years in San José after leaving an abusive relationship, were extremely hard. She was constantly moving, ended up living in a shelter for a year, and was even homeless with her young children. Now, her rent has increased significantly, she’s been asked to pay an additional deposit of $1,400 to her new building owner and she is worried that she may be kicked out because the new owner has been displacing many families from the building even when they’ve paid the additional deposit. “It’s very difficult to find someone who will rent to you when they see you are a single mother with children,” said Mendoza.

In the coming weeks, the housing items are expected to go to full council for discussion.

About Charisse Domingo

 

Charisse Domingo is a photojournalist with Silicon Valley De-Bug, and co-founder of the Albert Cobarrubias Justice Project. Domingo is also the co-founder of the Darkroom at Debug, a community for film photographers.

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