Councilmember Alarcon Calls for Rent Increase Moratorium
On the morning of April 14, 2010 tenants from across Los Angeles crammed into the LA City Council press room waiting anxiously for the press conference to begin. This would not be your usual City Hall pres conference where politicians are surrounded by their staff, lobbyists and the gamut of deep-pocket special interest players that adorn the corridors of City Hall. Instead, you had an eclectic mix of people adorning colorful t-shirts that boldly stated their organizations, mission and communities standing around the podium.
Today would mark the first time in a long while in which everyday Angelenos would be viewed as a priority. Today Councilmember Alarcon would call for a 1-year freeze on rent-increases in rent stabilized units in Los Angeles.
Councilmember Alarcon opened with a story about he and his wife having lunch at El Pollo Loco. A property owner approached him and said hello, to which Alarcon asked if he was faring okay in these tough economic times. The owner responded that the mortgage meltdown was great for business because there was such a demand for rental property and that he could raise his rents at will.
That was the make or break moment for Richard Alarcon.
You could sense the pain of uncertainty as tenants from LA CAN, Union de Vecinos, and Comunidad Presente shared their testimony from the podium. Councilmember Alarcon listened quietly, thoughtfully, as Claudia Gomez tearfully told her story about a family of six forced to live in a one bedroom home. It was clear, given the entirety of her comments, that any increase would mean being forced to choose one life sustaining thing over another.
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Los Angeles Human Right to Housing Collective organizations involved have included: Los Angeles Housing Preservation Alliance, Coalition LA, Coalition for Economic Survival, Comunidad Presente, Esperanza Community Housing, Inquilinos Unidos, KIWA, LA CAN, LACEH&H, Lamp Community, POWER, SAJE, Union de Vecinos, legal partners, and other supporters