In the Dual Fight for Prop 10 & C, We’ll Celebrate One Victory & Keep On Fighting!

Press Release: November 7, 2018.

In the Dual Fight for Prop 10 & C, We’ll Celebrate Prop C’s Historic Victory and Keep Fighting for Affordable Housing and Fair Rents!

By the Committee for Yes On 10 in SF

Tenant advocates throughout the city are celebrating the historic Yes On C victory spearheaded by advocates and experts working on the ground with our homeless neighbors. We are grateful for all those who organized and voted with us to fund housing, services and eviction defense for our vulnerable residents. As housing organizers, we also know that we must prevent evictions, including those resulting from Costa Hawkins, in order to end homelessness. Our planning department reports show that we can’t build new affordable units as fast as we are losing affordable rent-controlled units to evictions, and that the waiting lists for affordable housing are only growing longer. We know the majority of our homeless neighbors once had a home in SF, which means we must continue the fight for real rent control to ensure that more folks don’t become homeless due to evictions. Tenants need stronger renter protections now! They can’t wait for housing to be built in many years to come.

While Prop 10 did not win, the Yes On 10 campaign’s passionate, grassroots organizing efforts have galvanized the housing justice movement in ways that felt unimaginable just two years ago. This outdated state law, which undermines local rent control protections, is now a household name across California thanks to this ballot fight. We also brought rent control into the mainstream imagination, with endorsements from the Democratic Party, and widespread support from organized labor. It is common knowledge that we are in the midst of a devastating housing crisis, and tenants activists will continue the fight to make it a common priority to secure all the available tools to address skyrocketing rents, displacement and homelessness at the local and regional level. With Costa Hawkins, the state legislature chose to protect big money instead of the folks who live here. We will continue to push our leaders to get on the right side of history and value people over profits.

“My neighbors and I have been building collective power to fight the biggest corporate landlord in San Francisco who uses Costa Hawkins rent increases and harassment to flip rent-controlled buildings,” said Lenea Maibaum, a tenant of Yat-Pang Au/Veritas Investments and dedicated advocate for the repeal of Costa Hawkins. “We’re just getting started, and we’re gonna keep knocking doors and organizing tenants to fight for rights to our homes and the city long after this election.”

Every tenant rights group in the state knows that repealing Costa-Hawkins is essential to strengthening our rent control laws, and recent polls consistently show that over 60 percent of Californians say they want stronger rent control and know that it is the number one solution to our housing crisis. As expected, Blackstone, Russell Flynn, Essex Properties, and other giant corporate landlords sponsoring ‘No On 10’ reportedly spent around $100 million peddling lies to confuse voters on what Prop 10 would actually do – literally just repeal a state law that restricts local rent control. What surprised us, however, was that they almost exclusively used these ads to claim that Prop 10 would hurt renters, families, seniors, communities of color, and even veterans.

“If we weren’t right, in our assessment of the housing crisis, and if our solutions were not already so popular, the real estate industry would not have resorted to co-opting our message of protecting the vulnerable, and stabilizing communities,” said Deepa Varma, Executive Director of the San Francisco Tenants Union. “We know that Big Real Estate players don’t care about communities, or making rents affordable. They are the ones raising the rents and benefiting from evictions. While these real estate tycoons continue to make a mockery of our democratic processes, we are going to keep on building our tenant rights movement from local to national levels.”

We thank the everyday people who took on this effort to help stop skyrocketing rents and prevent homelessness that often follows evictions – the people who spoke with their families and neighbors, shared events on social media pages, walked the streets with us, phone banked, and helped spread the word throughout the city. This was a valiant ballot effort, and we give much gratitude to the groups dedicated to repealing Costa Hawkins and fighting for housing rights across the state, including the ACLU, the Coalition for San Francisco Neighborhoods, Housing Now, Tenants Together, AIDS Healthcare Foundation, ACCE, San Francisco Tenants Union, Housing Rights Committee of San Francisco, Causa Justa :: Just Cause, Senior & Disability Action, PODER, Million Voters Project, Democratic Socialists of America, California Calls, APEN, Oakland Rising, SF Rising, LA Tenants Union, SAJE, United Educators of San Francisco, California Nurses Association, and the CA Labor Council, to name a few.

“As doctors and nurses, we recognize that the health of our patients hinges on their ability to maintain safe and affordable housing,” said Juliana Morris, Chris Ahlbach and Rachel Schenkel of Do No Harm Coalition and Zenei Cortez of California Nurses Association. “Rent control is healthcare and housing is a human right!”

The housing movement has gained thousands of newly empowered tenants and has broadened, become more organized, stronger and more skilled in this fight. We will keep building with each other across organizations, coalitions and across the nation to create a world we all can live in, a world where everyone has a roof over their head.

Solidarity in the struggle for homes for all!

– Committee for Yes On 10 in SF

For questions or more information, contact: deepa@sftu.org or fred@hrcsf.org

ABOUT PROPOSITION 10
Proposition 10, the Affordable Housing Act, is a ballot measure that would have restored the right of local communities to set fair limits on rent increases on all types of homes in order to address California’s housing affordability crisis.

ABOUT PROPOSITION C
Proposition C, Our City Our Home, is a ballot measure that will address SF’s homeless crisis, funded by a small .5% tax on corporations making over $50 million. It will add more than $300 million to our city budget to help prevent homelessness, provide mental health care, create affordable housing and provide shelter off the streets.