LOS ANGELES--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Dolores Huerta, the influential labor and civil rights activist who co-founded what eventually became the United Farm Workers union with César Chavez, is raising her activist voice once again, this time in Spanish and in full-throated support of a campaign urging Governor Newsom and the California Legislature to suspend the Costa-Hawkins Rental Housing Act of 1995, a law that prevents rent control in nearly all of California, home to nearly 17 million renters.
Huerta is featured in a new statewide Spanish language radio ad campaign launching Monday (May 18) that was produced by housing justice advocates behind the Rental Affordability Act (RAA), a November 2020 California ballot initiative that will allow for expansion of rent control throughout the state. Huerta endorsed the November ballot initiative late last year.
However, in light of the devastating economic impact the COVID-19 pandemic is having in California, particularly among lower-income and minority populations, many people now face even more difficulty meeting housing costs in an already expensive housing market. Huerta felt it important to speak out now, urging more immediate action by the governor and legislature to alleviate the crushing economic pain and help keep many vulnerable Californians safely in their homes and apartments by loosening the state law preventing rent control locally.
Suspension of Costa-Hawkins would allow local cities and towns to institute some forms of rent control throughout California to help some of the millions who have lost jobs and income in the nation’s shuttered economy. It would also help many others already struggling with the state’s notorious housing costs, including the nearly 30% of California households who spend half their income on rent.
Over the next two weeks, nearly 700 radio spots featuring Dolores Huerta will air in four major media markets in California: Los Angeles, San Francisco, Sacramento and San Diego. The radio campaign will be supplemented by an aggressive online and social media campaign promoting Huerta’s messaging calling for the suspension of Costa-Hawkins.
Huerta joins a growing statewide chorus of individuals and groups calling for the suspension of Costa-Hawkins, a divisive law which passed by only one vote after a hard-fought battle in Sacramento in 1995.
Last week, following by a motion by Los Angeles City Council Member David Ryu, the Los Angeles City Council voted to formally ask Governor Newsom to suspend Costa-Hawkins. AIDS Healthcare Foundation, the sponsor of the Rental Affordability Act also sent a formal letter asking Newsom to suspend the law.
In a letter sent to the Governor’s office on April 22nd, backers of the RAA indicated that they would even withdraw the November ballot measure should Newsom and the legislature suspend the 1995 law, writing: “In the spirit of cooperation, we will withdraw our initiative from the November 2020 ballot if the state enacts a suspension of the Costa-Hawkins Rental Housing Act.”
“This is one of the worst economic crises confronted by renters in over a century, one that demands bold action by Governor Newsom and the legislature in order to prevent the situation from becoming an epic humanitarian crisis as well,” said René Christian Moya, Housing Is A Human Right and Rental Affordability Act Campaign Director. “California was already experiencing a historic crisis of housing affordability before COVID-19. In this new terrain, suspension of Costa-Hawkins is not an unreasonable ask. We thank Dolores Huerta for lending her powerful voice to this campaign as well as thank the Los Angeles City Council and others throughout the state making the same demand on the governor.”
The Rental Affordability Act
When passed, The Rental Affordability Act will remove current restrictions in state law, giving cities and counties the power to implement and expand rent control policies that limit how much rents can increase each year. It would allow local communities to:
- Expand rent control to more buildings while exempting newly constructed buildings.
- Exempts Single-Family homeowners who own up to two homes.
- Allow limits on rent increases when a new renter moves in.
Housing Is A Human Right (HHR), is the housing advocacy division of AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF), and the leading sponsor of the RAA. The measure has the endorsement of Senator Bernie Sanders, labor and civil rights icon Dolores Huerta, Congresswoman Maxine Waters and a suite of California’s most well-regarded tenant advocacy and social justice organizations, including the Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment (ACCE) and Eviction Defense Network, as well as major labor unions, such as UNITE HERE Local 11.
The rent control ballot measure has gained increasing urgency during the COVID-19 pandemic, as millions of Californians already struggling with the state’s high housing costs have now lost work and income in the nation’s shuttered economy.
The Rental Affordability Act is sponsored by Homeowners & Tenants United, with significant funding by the AIDS Healthcare Foundation.
To find out more about the campaign to suspend Costa-Hawkins, please visit: http://protectrentersnow.org/