FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONTACT: Mike Dennis
SIX months HAVE PASSED SINCE THE birth of the Renters’ Day LA movement
Yet no substantive government action resulted and Los Angeles’ housing affordability crisis is predicted to get worse
Los Angeles, CA – Amidst perhaps the most severe housing crisis in the history of Los Angeles, LA renters converged on Los Angeles City Hall exactly six months ago seeking the recognition of April 23rd as “Renters’ Day LA.” Championing their cause, Councilmember Gil Cedillo introduced a symbolic declaration that day, establishing April 23rd as a day to recognize the significant contributions of renters to the LA economy and voice support of renters’ grievances.
Beyond the pursuit of a holiday of recognition, the Renters’ Day LA movement sought to establish April 23rd as a call to action, to city councilmembers and renters alike, and an annual marker of progress in the implementation of legislative solutions to the city’s housing crisis that both preserve existing affordable housing and prioritize funding for the creation of new affordable units. “We will fight until every woman, man and child has a safe, healthy and affordable home in which to live. We are here to invite our government to enter into partnership with us, the renters, to make this dream a reality and we insist that in one years’ time, on the second Renters’ Day LA, that there will have been great steps taken towards our goal,” proclaimed Watts resident Lorena Garcia through the cheers of her fellow renters. However, instead of the “great steps” imagined by Garcia, renters have been hit by a steady stream of academic reports and forecasts of continued and unprecedented rent increases followed by a resounding silence from City Hall.
In its July 2014 study, Impacts of the Widening Divide: Los Angeles at the Forefront of the Rent Burden Crisis, the UCLA Luskin School of Public Affairs demonstrates how “rent burdens have been severe for low-income renters since the 1970’s” and that “Los Angeles consistently exceeds the nation in both the share of renters burdened and the severity of the burden.” The report concludes that Los Angeles is the most unaffordable rental market in the country, and proposes that simultaneous to increasing minimum wages, “affordable housing production and preservation needs to accelerate.” In October, USC’s Lusk Center for Real Estate predicted that over the next two years the cost of the average apartment in LA County will grow over 8%. Despite these warnings by the City’s two most prestigious universities, LA City Councilmembers remain apathetic to a problem they have the tools to address. Undeterred, the Renters’ Day LA groups will continue to mobilize renters and would-be renters from every corner of the city until we move our legislators towards policies that accelerate the preservation and production of affordable housing, the very recommendations proposed for years by renters and with the added legitimacy of our academic institutions.